Original materials -
Copyright © 2015 by Gary Bachlund All international rights
"How lucky is the man
who, like Mozart and others, goes to the tavern of an evening and writes
some fresh music. For he lives while he is creating." Johannes Brahms (in a
letter to Clara Schumann, 1856)
There's wonder in the fallen leaf
In times which, passing, prove so brief;
There's grandeur in the slight and small
As in the cosmic God-great sprawl
Of worlds beyond a small world's view,
Eluding, hinting, hiding hue
From sight so short and time too quick
To color blind time's waning wick.
Shorter now this flickering flame
Is pressing out its withering claim
On day which births itself to night,
In candled dusk, dark, justly right.
There's wonder in the wondering
Of each fall leaf's small thundering.
Shall we ignore the
Shall we ignore the obvious,
Which stands before our eyes?
Must we believe what is not true,
That best is said in lies?
Shall we stay well misinformed
By those in teachers' guise?
Do we not know from Adam
That ignorance crucifies?
is not estimable in itself, nor is Change, or Radicalism. To conserve
the existing good, to supplant the existing bad by good, is to act on a
true political principle, which is neither Conservative nor Radical."
In the Preface to "Late Lyrics," Thomas Hardy, 1922.
Addendum of Natural Violence:
"Like the Jews who remained in their
Eastern ghettoes even after the Nazis arrived, we seem concerned only
that business should go well in our big shtetl, and never mind what goes
on in the rest of the world. As we Jews succeed in freeing ourselves of
whatever remnants of ghetto thinking we still harbor, it may fall to us
to teach the Western world that it must, as we all must, enlarge the
feeling of community beyond our own group, beyond iron curtains -- not
because all men are basically good, but because violence is as natural
to man as the tendency toward order." In "Freud's Vienna and
Other Essays," Bruno Bettelheim, Vintage Books edition, 1991.
[ 1 ]
of Man's Innate Cruelty: "Society is not the criminal but the
force which keeps crime in check. When social controls weaken, man's
innate cruelty bursts forth." In "Sexual Personae, Art and Decadence
from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson," Camille Paglia, Yale University
Addendum of Teaching Violence
to Children: "The school is run by fighters who
pledged allegiance to ISIS — the terrorist group that declared an
Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria. They live among the locals in the
village of Shaigal, take local wives and collect taxes. They seem to
control every aspect of life. The teacher, Abdullah Gul, tells the
students what 'jihad' means: 'We must implement God’s religion over
all people,' Gul tells the children in the below video. 'God says do
jihad until intrigue, idolatry and infidelity are finished in the
world'." In "ISIS in Afghanistan: School of Jihad," by Priyan
Boghani, Frontline, PBS, 1 November 2015.
Addendum of the Obama
Administration Fueling ISIS: "A revealing light on how
we got here has now been shone by a recently declassified secret US
intelligence report, written in August 2012, which uncannily predicts –
and effectively welcomes – the prospect of a 'Salafist principality' in
eastern Syria and an al-Qaida-controlled Islamic state in Syria and
Iraq. In stark contrast to western claims at the time, the Defense
Intelligence Agency document identifies al-Qaida in Iraq (which became
Isis) and fellow Salafists as the 'major forces driving the insurgency
in Syria' – and states that “western countries, the Gulf states and
Turkey” were supporting the opposition’s efforts to take control of
eastern Syria. Raising the 'possibility of establishing a declared or
undeclared Salafist principality', the Pentagon report goes on, 'this is
exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to
isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of
the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran)'." Which is pretty well exactly what
happened two years later." In "Now the truth emerges: how the US
fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq," by Seumas Milne,
Guardian UK, 3 June 2015.
[ 2 ]
Addendum of the Obama
Administration Approving Arms for Saudi Arabia: "The
Islamist theocracy Saudi Arabia is getting heavy ammunition equaling
billions of dollars from the United States. It remains to be seen
whether this economic booster shot for the U.S. defense industry will
lead to consequences in Syria. The Saudis are fighting covertly against
the Russians. The U.S. government has approved a multibillion dollar
arms deal with Saudi Arabia. In order to strengthen its air force,
the Islamist monarchy wants to purchase more than 19,000 bombs, which
would total up to 1.29 billion dollars (1.19 billion euros). This was
confirmed by the State Department in Washington on Monday." In "USA
Delivers 19,000 Bombs to Wahabist Saudis Supporting ISIS," Originally
appeared at German Economic News. Translated by Susan Neumann, 19
[ 3 ]
Addendum of the Naïveté
of Europe: "...the fact that terrorists appear to have
entered Europe concealed among asylum seekers still vindicated repeated
warnings by Mr. Orban that the uncontrolled flow of so many people posed
serious security risks. 'Whenever Hungary made an argument the response
was always: ‘They are stupid Hungarians. They are xenophobes and Nazis,’
' Zoltan Kovacs, a government spokesman, said. 'Suddenly, it turns
out that what we said was true. The naïveté of Europe is really quite
stunning'." In "Hungary’s Migrant Stance, Once Denounced, Gains Some
Acceptance," by Andrew Higgins, New York Times, 20 December 2015.
Addendum of Reality's Check:
"...we are all capable of believing things which we
know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong,
impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right.
Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an
indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false
belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield."
In " In Front of Your Nose," George Orwell, Tribune, 22 March 1946.
[ 1 ] The
notion that "violence is a natural to man as the tendency
toward order" disturbs some, because of a refusal to
accept realities, favoring wishful thinking or even choosing
not knowing over facing reality.
A famous example is this: "It is indeed a mystery why
the individual members of nations should disdain, hate, and
abhor each other at all, even in times of peace. I do not
know why it is. It seems as if all the moral
achievements of the individual were obliterated in the case
of a large number of people, not to mention millions, until
only the most primitive, oldest, and most brutal psychic
inhibitions remained." In "The Disappointments of War,"
Reflections on War and Death, Sigmund Freud, 1918.
For such a seemingly seminal thinker in the late 19th and
early 20th century to admit "I do not know why it is," and
then continue his prose aimed more towards wishful thinking
than observable fact is a sign of these "modern times."
Shall we ignore the obvious? Many testify "yes."
Such have forgotten
Kellogg-Briand - 1928
as they have forgotten that "the war to end all wars" is
long past, and what has followed have been war after war,
even those which some have thought were ending.
[ 2 ] The
New York Times published an editorial detailing US-Wahabbi
involvement. One reads in part: "Saudi Arabia remains
an ally of the West in the many chess games playing out in
the Middle East. It is preferred to Iran, that gray Daesh.
And there’s the trap. Denial creates the illusion of
equilibrium. Jihadism is denounced as the scourge of the
century but no consideration is given to what created it or
supports it. This may allow saving face, but not saving
lives. Daesh has a mother: the invasion of Iraq. But it
also has a father: Saudi Arabia and its religious-industrial
complex. Until that point is understood, battles may be won,
but the war will be lost. Jihadists will be killed, only to
be reborn again in future generations and raised on the same
books." In "Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It," by
Kamel Daoud, New York Times, 20 November 2015.
Comparing this NYTimes-published view with the Guardian
excerpt above, one sees the assertion that the Obama
administration had a tacitly approving hand in the tragedy
in Iraq involving ISIS/Daesh.
Given these kinds of reports from 2015 and with the raging
war inside Iraq and Libya with the Islamic State, it becomes
instructive to look back a few years at the political
Ones reads of what is now proven to have been naïveté at
best: " 'I would note that the end of war in Iraq
reflects a larger transition,' Obama said. 'The tide of
war is receding'." In "Obama announces full withdrawal
from Iraq," by David Jackson, USA Today, 21 October 2011.
That article went on to gush in an editorial statement
camouflaged as news: "The announcement came a day
after the death of former Libya dictator Moammar Gadhafi,
bringing that conflict to an end."
Viewed from only a few years later, the "tide of war" did
not recede, but escalate. The "conflict" in Libya was not
brought "to an end. Look beyond to Obama's admission of
Failing to plan
-- flailing's in view.
listed the administration's achievements, including the
pullout of troops in Iraq and the drawdown of soldiers in
Afghanistan. 'Winding down these longs wars has enabled
us to replace and rebalance our foreign policy,' the
vice-president told army cadets and their families." In "Joe
Biden: withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan allows military
to refocus," by Matt Williams, Guardian UK, 26 May 2012.
How then do the air strikes and drone attacks in the few
years following these politicians' statement indicate
"winding down?" But politicians declare their successes all
Tested Against Solid Reality
One reads: "Mr. Obama has pointed to the American
troop withdrawal last year as proof that he has fulfilled
his promise to end the Iraq war. Winding down a conflict,
however, entails far more than extracting troops. ...White
House officials portray their exit strategy as a success,
asserting that the number of civilian fatalities in Iraq is
low compared with 2006, when the war was at its height.
Politics, not violence, has become the principal means
for Iraqis to resolve their differences, they say." In
"In U.S. Exit From Iraq, Failed Efforts and Challenges," by
Michael R. Gordon, New York Times, 22 September 2012.
One should highlights the assertion: "Politics, not
violence, has become the principal means for Iraqis to
resolve their differences." This is demonstrably false.
Shall we ignore the obvious? A war rages in Iraq and Libya,
between the Islamic State and its opponents, the current
Iraq government allied with Kurds and others. And where is
the US in this? Flying military missions over Iraq for the
last four years. This is what politics calls "winding down."
George Orwell in his article cited above, "In Front of Your
Nose," ends with this salient observation: "Politics,
on the other hand, is a sort of sub-atomic or non-Euclidean
word where it is quite easy for the part to be greater than
the whole or for two objects to be in the same place
simultaneously. Hence the contradictions and absurdities
I have chronicled above, all finally traceable to a
secret belief that one's political opinions, unlike the
weekly budget, will not have to be tested against solid
The "tide of war" roils. The "winding down" was and remains
a political assertion. Politics is not become the principal
means to resolve differences in a world of wars.
[ 3 ] The original article
in German: "Die islamistische Theokratie Saudi-Arabien
erhält von den USA schwere Munition im Gegenwert von
Milliarden. Ob die Konjunktur-Spritze für die US-Rüstungsindustrie
ihre Folgen auch in Syrien zeigen wird, ist offen. Die
Saudis kämpfen verdeckt gegen die Russen. Die US-Regierung
hat ein milliardenschweres Rüstungsgeschäft mit Saudi-Arabien
gebilligt. Die islamistische Monarchie wird für ihre
Luftwaffe mehr als 19.000 Bomben im Wert von 1,29 Milliarden
Dollar (1,19 Milliarden Euro) kaufen, teilte das
Außenministerium in Washington am Montag mit." In "USA
liefern 19.000 Bomben an Saudi-Arabien," Deutsche
Wirtschafts Nachrichten, 16 November 2015.
Adding the assertion that Saudi Arabia is "an ISIS that has
made it" to the Obama administration approving such a large
assortment of armament to that "ISIS that has made it," one
sees on which side the US government currently stands. It
stands on the side of an "the Islamist theocracy."
Simple, Stinging Question
An Islamist theocracy? Another criticizes: " 'How
many bombs and missiles have you purchased from the U.S. in
the past year,' Rouhani asked in an apparent reference to
Saudi Arabia. 'If you had distributed the same money among
poor Muslims, none of them would have gone to bed hungry.'
Rouhani, a moderate politician, said a Saudi-led coalition
that has been bombing Yemen since March has prompted a
humanitarian crisis and greater poverty in Yemen, saying
these were among the main causes behind the spread of
extremism in the region." In "Iran accuses Saudi of
promoting poverty, terrorism," by Ali Akbar Dareini,
Associated Press, 27 December 2015.
Nevertheless, business is business, as the Obama
administration approves "1.29 billion dollars" of weapons
and munitions to Saudi Arabia in 2015 alone.
As to that so-called Islamist theocracy, one reads: "Already
this year Saudi Arabia has carried out at least 151
beheadings but these would be the first that deal with
allegations of terrorism. Last year a total of 90 were
executed but none were for terrorism offences. It is
believed that seven of the condemned men are Shia from the
region of Al-Awamiyah in the oil-rich Eastern Province.
Saudi Shia have long protested over discrimination and
mistreatment by the Sunni central government." In "Saudi
Arabia executions: Kingdom to behead 50 men convicted of
terrorism offences despite threat of Shia revolt," by Bill
Law, Independent UK, 26 November 2015.
As one recalls the loud complaint in the Western media and
politics of the Abu Graib "scandal," one looks for a
comparable response from these same voices to the carnage of
ISIS as to the carnage of the "ISIS that made it" -- Saudi
Arabia. Similarly one looks for outrage in the Western media
and politics for cross border drone attacks by the current
US administration which, when done by a previous
administration, had "pressed" howls of complaint. Single
standards consistently applied seem absent.
On might well muse on the odd American liberal who would
believe in an antiwar stance, all the while the obvious fact
is that this Peace Prize president is arming of the Wahabbi
"Islamic theocracy" as well as carrying one drone attacks
across borders in non-war zones as recognized by US law.
A Modern Observation on The Anti-War Movement
- "Where have
all the critics gone, long time passing?"
But the narrative is spreading. One reads:
"...more than 11,000 people tweeted the hashtag 'Sue me
Saudi' in protest, challenging the authorities to take legal
action against them for making similar comparisons.
'Beheading poets because they criticise a regime puts that
regime on the same level as Daesh [IS]', one tweet read.
Another directly addressed the Saudi authorities: 'Your
regime is barbaric. Beheading is never justified. The idea
of your chairing the UN Human Rights Council is a sick
joke.' The last comment is a reference to the appointment of
a Saudi ambassador as chair of a panel of experts on the
council." In "What happened after one man
compared Saudi Arabia to Islamic State," BBC, 1 December
Down the runway
with a strut
Down the runway with a strut,
slinking into view,
Is the agéd model,
styled eighteen-fifties new!
Fashionable is the old thing now,
though stumblingly sashayed,
Dressed up still so scantily
for a stylishly grayed parade.
Elderly, doddering, creaking joints,
yet full feather boa bold,
Down the runway one more time
and but eighteen-fifties old.
Trot out the flagged apparel,
powdered, lipsticked, wigged,
As slinks the deadly, dowdy strut
which stinks from perfumes, swigged
From all those wrinkled, faded fans,
the old new rebroadcast.
All hail this agéd derelict,
its first century long passed.
Fashionably back in favor,
its dark flavor unsurpassed.
View the farce as it comes to town,
desiccated and outclassed.
Who will buy this dried bouquet,
as the sere is again recast?
A high gate hides the rotting corpse
consigned to a dusty past.
Exhume and prop and pretty up,
that down the runway yet
The stinking agéd model seems
seductive as some fresh coquet.
"The hard-left finance spokesman for Britain's opposition Labour Party
said on Monday that Karl Marx, co- author of 'The Communist Manifesto',
is back in fashion because his ideas offer a definitive way to
analyse the capitalist foundations of the modern Western economy. After
winning Labour's top job by a landslide earlier this month, Jeremy
Corbyn appointed John McDonnell - a former trade unionist who backs renationalising banks and imposing wealth taxes - as his finance
minister-in-waiting. 'If you look at most of the institutions that are
teaching economics today, Marx has come back in to fashion
because people have gone back to his analysis of just the basics of how
the system works,' McDonnell told BBC radio." In "Karl Marx is 'back
in fashion', key ally of Britain's Labour leader says," by Guy
Faulconbridge and Michael Holden, Reuters, 28 September 2015.
Addendum of London's
ex-Mayor: "To conclude that Hitler supported
Zionism 'is not only historically inaccurate, it is historically
illiterate,' Moorhouse wrote. Senior UK Labour Party lawmakers have
called on party leader Jeremy Corbyn to take firmer action against
anti-Semitism among its members, in light of the anti-Semitic remarks by
Livingstone, Naz Shah, an MP who was suspended on Wednesday, and others."
In "Livingstone doubles down on Hitler backing Zionism: ‘They don’t
teach it in Israel’ - Anti-Israel politician George Galloway backs
former mayor, says ‘Nazism and Zionism were two sides of the same coin’;
WWII historian rejects claims outright," by Staff, Times of Israel,
29 April 2016.
of the British Labour Party's Anti-Semitism: "...
Aziz is a strong supporter of the extremist Palestine Solidarity
Campaign, which has a long history of hosting anti-Semites and
homophobes at its events, as well as the anti-Israel BDS boycott
movement. Aziz is just one of dozens of Labour members who were
suspended over the past year or so due to anti-Semitic statements. The
most senior was former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, whose membership
was suspended after he suggested and later insisted that Adolf Hitler
was a Zionist. Livingstone has refused to apologize for his comments and
has repeatedly stressed that he stands by them. Corbyn himself has come
under fire due to his calling Hamas and Hezbollah his 'friends' and for
outright refusing to condemn those two terrorist organizations despite
being urged to do so by local Jewish groups. He recently took back those
comments. It remains unclear why the Labour party reinstated Aziz."
In "Anti-Semitic British Labour councillor reinstated," by Elad Benari,
Arutz Sheva, 5 January 2017.
Addendum of Looking Worn Out:
" 'The left's political discourse is looking
worn-out,' said Elsa Cardozo, a specialist in international affairs
at Simon Bolivar University in Venezuela. 'The transformations they brought about have led backwards in the end'." In "Political upsets
mark dark days for Latin left," Alexander Martinez, Agence France Presse,
8 December 2015.
Addendum of a Easy Idea for
2015: "Let’s get rid of private housing." In "
How to Get Rid of Your Landlord and Socialize American Housing, in 3
Easy Steps," by Jesse A. Myerson, The Nation, 8 December 2015.
Addendum of the Fashionable
Marx, circa 1814: "Nevertheless, in most advanced
countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable. 1.
Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to
public purposes. 2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance. 4. Confiscation of
the property of all emigrants and rebels...." In "Chapter II.
Proletarians and Communists," of The Manifesto of the Communist Party,
Addendum of Venezuela's
Socialism: "... it did what all poorly-run states
do when the money runs out: it printed some more. And by 'some,' I mean
a lot, a lot more. That, in turn, became more "a lots" than you can
count once oil started collapsing in mid-2014. The result of all this
money-printing, as you can see below, is that Venezuela's currency has,
by black market rates, lost 93 percent of its value in the last two
years. It turns out Lenin was wrong. Debauching the currency is
actually the best way to destroy the socialist, not the capitalist,
system." In "Venezuela is on the brink of a complete economic
collapse," by Matt O'Brien, Washington Post, 29 January 2016.
[ 1 ]
Addendum of Bitter
Resentment: "...anti-Americanism lives on. The
continued hatred of America and Americanism one finds on the left has, I
think, two elements. One is bitter resentment that Americanism did
defeat communism and the once confident hopes of the radical left of a
future socialist utopia. This is anti-American as leftist revenge
and sour grapes. But, additionally, leftist utopianism lives on various
forms such as radical environmentalism, radical feminism, and radical
multiculturalism. These radical movements also fear that American
culture and civilization as well as “Americanized” attitudes in the rest
of the world are the major road blocs to their utopian goals." In
"Dissecting Anti-Americanism: The Contribution of Paul Hollander," by
John Earl Haynes, Philadelphia Society, 14 April 2012.
[ 2 ]
Addendum of He Is and He
Isn't: "Questioned on the BBC's Andrew Marr show,
he said: 'Marx obviously analysed what was happening in a quite
brilliant way. The philosophy around Marx is absolutely fascinating.
'Does it all apply now? Well obviously philosophy applies at all times.
Do we then take that as a way in which we ensure that people have
reasonable security in their lives through public ownership of the major
monopolies? I think that is a fair point to look at. It is not unpopular
with the public.' Pressed directly on whether he was a 'Marxist', Mr
Corbyn said: 'That is a very interesting question actually. I haven't
thought about that for a long time. I haven't really read as much of
Marx as we should have done. I have read quite a bit but not that
much'." In "So is he a Marxist? Jeremy Corbyn dodges the question but
says 'I haven't really read as much of Marx as we should have done',"
by Corey Charlton, Mail Online, 26 July 2015.
[ 3 ]
Addendum of the British
Left's 'Jewish Problem': "Anti-Semitism used to
be a problem primarily of the right. It wasn’t that the left had a
totally clean bill of health — there is a history of left-wing
anti-Semitism — but its firm foundation of universal values and
egalitarian principles established a proud tradition of fighting bigotry
against Jews. In recent decades, however, much of the left has
retreated from these commitments. Where before radicals challenging
inequality and oppression did so in the name of universal rights, many
now stress multiculturalism, celebrating a world divided into distinct
cultures, each with its own ideas, beliefs and values. Such 'identity
politics' turns on its head the dictum of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr. that one should judge people 'not by the color of their skin
but by the content of their character.' Once identity becomes the
primary feature of political life, then people are judged as much by the
group to which they belong as by their character or principles. Identity
politics has made it easier to hold all Jews responsible for the actions
of the State of Israel and to go after Jews simply for being Jews." In "The
British Left’s ‘Jewish Problem’," by Kenen Malik, New York Times, 3
Addendum of a Meltdown:
"The British Labour Party is in meltdown. After
reviving the center-left in the 1990s, and then dominating British
politics until 2010, Labour now faces the gravest challenge in its
116-year history. One of the oldest social-democratic parties in the
world is fighting to survive; there is no guarantee it will. Labour’s
crisis is a microcosm of the test that confronts social democracy at
large. In polling, Labour has fallen to its lowest level in generations.
Shortly before Christmas, the party’s support dropped to 24 percent,
which if repeated in a national election would mark its lowest share of
the vote since 1918. Forecasts suggest that the number of Labour seats
in Parliament could slip from the 232 the party won in 2015 to 190 in
2020, its poorest showing since 1935. The bad news does not end
there. In a recent election to fill a vacant parliamentary seat, Labour
suffered the humiliation of failing to reach even 5 percent of the vote."
In "Old Labour, New Labour, No Labour," by Matthew J. Goodwin, New York
Times, 11 January 2017.
of Corbyn's Abandonment: "The survey, which asked
1,036 people how they voted in May 2015 and which party they intend to
support in seven weeks’ time, found that almost half of those who voted
Labour two years ago (46 per cent) would now vote for another party or
not at all. Fourteen per cent of these intend to vote Conservative,
while 10 per cent opted for the Lib Dems. More than a third (36 per
cent) said they were abandoning Labour because of party leadership,
while just under a quarter (24 per cent) cited Brexit and leadership and
16 per cent said it was Brexit alone." In "One in seven Labour
voters turning to Tories as Corbyn scares off supporters," by Caroline
Wheeler and Camilla Tominey, Express UK, 23 April 2017.
of a Labour Party's Communists:
"Mr Murray was a member of the British Communist party
for 40 years before he quit to join Labour under Mr Corbyn's left-wing
leadership. He has defended the Russian tyrant Stalin, suggesting his
regime was better than living in the West. And he has written an article
expressing 'solidarity' with North Korea - which is ruled under the
tyrant Kim Jong Un." In "Jeremy Corbyn drafts in Stalin apologist
and lifelong Communist to work in his office as senior aide," by Kate
Ferguson, MailOnline, 26 February 2018.
Addendum of a Poet's Aged
Paean for a Failed Country: Then on up the
epochal way, / You soldiers of art without fear, / Till the world-soul
heeds / And the revolution is here - / TilI the world-soul dares on the
worldwide Day / And the revolution succeeds! / Through Marx, the
glorious vision, / Through Lenin, the captain of deeds."
In "Red Renaissance," by H. H. Lewis, B. C. Hagglund, Publisher, Holt,
[ 4 ]
Addendum from Orwell's 1941:
"The mentality of the English left-wing
intelligentsia can be studied in half a dozen weekly and monthly papers.
The immediately striking thing about all these papers is their
generally negative, querulous attitude, their complete lack at all times
of any constructive suggestion. There is little in them except the
irresponsible carping of people who have never been and never expect to
be in a position of power. Another marked characteristic is the
emotional shallowness of people who live in a world of ideas and have
little contact with physical reality. Many intellectuals of the Left
were flabbily pacifist up to 1935, shrieked for war against Germany in
the years 1935-9, and then promptly cooled off when the war started. It
is broadly though not precisely true that the people who were most
'anti-Fascist' during the Spanish Civil War are most defeatist now." In
"The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism And The English Genius," George
[ 5 ]
Addendum from Communist China
in 2016: " A handwritten letter by Karl Marx
accompanied by a vintage photograph of the author of "Das Capital" sold
Tuesday for $678,000 at an auction in China, the China Daily
newspaper reported." "Karl Marx's Letter Fetches $678,000 at China
Auction," Indo-Asian News Service, 17 December 2014.
of American Students Wanting to Move Beyond by Moving Backward:
"One class in the Department of Urban and Environmental
Policy and Planning, focused on community economic development,
introduces the idea of a solidarity economy, which is based on the
ideology of a community democratically controlling capital and
resources to transform free market capitalism and our political and
economic systems into a world rooted in values of democracy, justice,
and sustainability." In "Moving Beyond Capitalism: Assessing the Lack of
Intellectual Diversity in Tufts’ Economics Department," Gabriela
Bonfiglio and Kyle Lui, Tufts Observer, 25 September 2017.
[ 6 ]
[ 1 ] The
citation has been challenged as to authorship. One reads:
"One frequently quoted passage from the work of John
Maynard Keynes is that 'the best way to destroy the
capitalist system [is] to debauch the currency.' The
passage, attributed to Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, appears in
Keynes' book The Economic Consequences of the Peace,
which became an international bestseller when it was
published in 1919. Nearly 60 years later, the economist and
economic historian Frank W. Fetter (1977, pp. 77, 78)
observed that 'the story [about Lenin’s remarks} has
circulated among economists, journalists, businessmen,
politicians and bankers' since then. Fetter doubted,
however, that Keynes was really quoting Lenin. After
extensive inquiries, Fetter reported that no such statement
could be found in Lenin’s published writings and that the
'first attribution in English, and probably in any
language,' was by Keynes." In "Retrospectives: Who Said
'Debauch the Currency': Keynes or Lenin by Michael V. White
and Kurt Schuler, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 23,
no. 2, 2009.
The article notes: "It seems clear that Keynes’
statement, in The Economic Consequences of the Peace,
that Lenin was 'said to have declared that the best way to
destroy the capitalist system was to debauch the currency,'
was based on a report of an interview with Lenin that was
published by prominent London and New York newspapers. There
are grounds for questioning the veracity of the interview."
While original authorship can be debated by scholars, what
cannot be debated is that the socialist revolution of Chavez
and Maduro in Venezuela is "on the brink." Thus whether the
statement about debauching the currency is by one author or
the other, the editorial spins the quote on its head, for it
is indeed socialism in its many forms which is being
destroyed by its own monetary policy.
This was demonstrably proven, as one finds in Wikipedia's
article on "Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe." One reads: "Lack of
confidence in government to practice fiscal restraint feeds
on itself. In Zimbabwe, neither the issuance of banknotes
of higher denominations nor proclamation of new currency
regimes led holders of the currency to expect that the new
money would be more stable than the old. Remedies announced
by the government never included a believable basis for
Rule in Zimbabwe since 1980 has been under the ZANU–PF,
socialist in ideology and modeled after other nations'
Leninist parties. By such examples and many not cited
herein, the notion that socialist economic theory is "back
in fashion" seems oddly disconnected from reality.
The reality of Venezuela's socialist-led economy has been
noted: "Venezuela is getting crushed by low oil prices. Its
economy greatly depends on oil exports to drive growth. As
oil prices have plunged in the past two years, so has
Venezuela's economy, which is now in a severe recession.
It's arguably the worst economy in the world." In
"Oil-rich Venezuela is now importing U.S. oil," by Patrick
Gillespie, CNN Money, 3 February 2016.
Paper money devalued. Other paper highly valued but scarce.
One reads: "After socialists run out of other people's
money, the people eventually run out of something almost
as precious as money: Toilet paper. It's happening right now
in Venezuela, once a socialist, oil-rich paradise and land
of great shortstops. But Venezuela is fast becoming a
thoroughly failed state." In "Venezuelan toilet paper
shortage an unwelcome symptom of socialism," John Kass,
Chicago Tribune, 25 February 2016.
One also reads: "Over the last 15 years, and with the
arrival of the '21st-Century Socialism,' more than 1.5
million Venezuelans have decided to emigrate. Until 2014,
most of them did so by air, passport in hand, while others
decided to cross the border by land. But in 2015, this
pattern seemed to have changed. Three Venezuelan women
risked their lives on a raft and arrived at Trinidad and
Tobago 'looking for a prosperous future.' We can now say
that Venezuelan rafters exist and, along with Cubans, are
fleeing a socialism that forces them to live in precarious
conditions." In "Venezuelan Rafters Head to the Seas to
Escape Chavismo," by Sabrina Martín, PanAmPost, 5 April
As the collapse in Venezuela with its 21st-Century Socialism
accelerates, one reads: "Ramón Muchacho, Mayor of
Chacao in Caracas, said the streets of the capital of
Venezuela are filled with people killing animals for food.
Through Twitter, Muchacho reported that in Venezuela, it is
a 'painful reality' that people 'hunt cats, dogs and
pigeons' to ease their hunger." In "Hungry Venezuelans
Hunt Dogs, Cats, Pigeons as Food Runs Out," Sabrina Martín,
PamAmPost, 4 May 2016.
and the Failures of Socialist Economic Theory
Marx and lunacy are equated as Venezuela's collapse
accelerates: "To economists of pretty much every
persuasion, from the far right to the far left, the solution
to the crisis is pretty straightforward: stabilize the
currency, eliminate those wildly destructive price controls,
and make sure spending is at least in the same ballpark as
tax revenues. But steeped in the kind of Marxist
phraseology that was already out of date a generation ago,
the clique around President Maduro seems genuinely convinced
that all of the country’s problems are the result of a
sprawling CIA conspiracy — 'economic warfare,' as official
propaganda puts it. It’s insane, but within the tightly
sealed circle of Marxist true believers around the
president, this kind of lunacy never faces any serious
pushback." In "How Venezuela’s socialist dream collapsed
into a nightmare," by Francisco Toro, Vox, 26 May 2016.
What an interesting echo of other times, when one considers
how East Germans
Fled from empty market shelves
- a history lesson.
For this and other examples of the failures of socialist
economic theory, one returns to McDonnell above testifying
to the BBC: 'If you look at most of the institutions
that are teaching economics today, Marx has come back in to fashion
because people have gone back to his analysis of just the
basics of how the system works."
Venezuela's Maduro and Chavez before him, are one example.
Zimbabwe is another, and the Stalinist government of North
Korea yet another. The 57-year reign of the Castro brothers
in Cuba is as well, as McDonnell and the BBC need to
Socialism's Last Hurrah - not democracy in any town.
Collapse - Again
Venezuela's supposedly "new" socialism is proving disastrous
for again trying out some of the tenets of Marxism, which is
simple Communism as Marx himself wrote. "Inflation in
Venezuela is projected to increase 481% this year and by a
staggering 1,642% next year, according to new estimates
released Tuesday by the International Monetary Fund.
'Venezuela is on the precipice of hyper inflation,' says
Kathryn Rooney Vera, research director at BullTick Capital
Markets in Miami." In "Venezuela: the land of 500%
inflation," by Patrick Gillespie, CNN Money, 12 April 2016.
Plainly stated: "Venezuela's economy is collapsing,
its currency is too, its stores have nothing in them, and it
can't keep the lights on or its people safe. The only things
the Chavistas are good at is creating scapegoats, creating
lines, and creating misery. Call it Maduro's law: Everything
that can go wrong, will go wrong when your government makes
it." In "Venezuela should be rich. Instead it’s becoming
a failed state," by Matt O'Brien, Washington Post, 4 May
Moreover, given "Marx has come back into fashion" either
forgets that Marx's call was a Communist Manifesto. So are
McDonnell and Corbyn Communists? To be a Marxist one must
accept the Communist Manifesto whose words are unequivocal?
On this point Corbyn waffles because the truth is that to
politicians such as these "The stinking agéd model seems / seductive as some fresh coquet."
[ 2 ] As
counterpoint to the concerns about anti-Americanism in
Hollander's and Hayes' vocabulary, one notes concerns
for the "world" in Corbyn's words which he proposes to
answer. "The world is a troubled and divided place. I
will conclude with this thought. As we speak, the poorest
of the poor countries in the world are getting poorer. There
is more unemployment, poverty, homelessness and hunger.
Resources are being transferred rapidly from the poor to the
rich." Jeremy Corbyn, in a speech in the House of
Commons, 18 October 1993.
Oddly missing from such concern is an analysis of what the
causes are. In the cases of Venezuela and Zimbabwe, cited
above, it is the mistaken belief in Marxism combined with
basic corruption. In the case of the now-historical collapse
of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, it again was the
founding streams of Marxist thought. But his reliance on
Marxist elements in his thinking shows itself.
"I am firmly an internationalist, so I am not
necessarily opposed to Europe. However, I am opposed to a
fortress Europe that basically creates wealth for itself
at the expense of the world, creates an undemocratic
control of government for the whole of Europe, and, in
truth, works only for the good of multinational corporations
and banking systems. It will cause further imbalances in
world poverty and world trade arrangements. I view the free
market of 1992 not as an opportunity, but as a disaster for
very many people throughout the world. I believe that Europe
will contribute to the economic problems of the world. I do
not agree with the sort of racist nonsense that has been
published in the Sun and other newspapers during the past
few weeks. It is a disgusting way to report matters.
However, I believe that the drive towards a market economy
in Europe will create poverty on the rims of Europe and an
inner-colonialism in which western Europe will act as a sort
of colonial master for eastern Europe and much of the rest
of the world." Jeremy Corbyn, in a speech the House of
Commons, 7 November 1990.
One watches "undemocratic control of government" in
socialist nations, as in Communist countries. The thought
that a market economy causes poverty is unsupported
historically. Rather market economies have increased
prosperity over time, and this is not in the interests of
the socialist ideologue who must prove this untrue to
survive, all the while socialism in various nations teeters
towards insolvency and collapse, as did the USSR.
Corbyn blithely said poverty because of market-based nations
acting "as a sort of colonial master" was to be blamed on
"fortress Europe." Corbyn simply ignores basic news of
socialism in action. One reads of a socialist Venezuela:
"Let’s be clear. Venezuela is awash in oil, just as it’s
replete with farmland that has nevertheless failed to feed
its people. What’s the problem? Socialism. Planned economies
always fail, because planners are fallible. What’s more,
because socialism concentrates the economic power at the top
levels of government, corruption is rife. All of these
factors are at play in Venezuela, which is now seeing
inflation topping 700 percent and an economy on the brink of
collapse." In "Socialism fails in Venezuela, again,"
Editorial, Tyler Morning Telegraph, 1 May 2016.
Difference Between Freedom and Slavery
While Hollander and Hayes use the term, anti-Americanism, as
the opposite of whatever it is that Americanism is, I prefer
the surgical clarity of plainer words, that i, the
opposition between freedom and enslavement. Economic
prosperity proves to rely on greater freedom, as physicians
in Socialist Cuba earn less than $50 a month while UK
physicians earn much more. Farmers in "colonial" Rhodesia,
once known as the "breadbasket of Africa," created a
prosperity that the follow-on ZANU-PF Marxists has not
equaled in a "free" Zimbabwe, with Marx-inspired leadership
there increasing poverty massively.
Given empirical evidence in the history of the last century
showing collapse under enlightened Communist rule, one
revisits Corbyn's own view of Marx (and therefore his and
Engel's Communist Manifesto of 1848): "Marx obviously analysed
what was happening in a quite brilliant way."
The "capitalist foundations of the modern Western economy"
are not best explained by Marxist criticism, but by human
self-interest and the freedoms to pursue it. What is best
explained about a dictatorship of the proletariat and
one-party rule is the regular appearance of tyranny of that
same proletariat and economic collapse alongside political
corruption in so many instances and times that to pretend
this is not so becomes ludicrous.
[ 3 ]
Marxist or not? One reads:
"Appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr show, he said Marx,
the philosopher behind the idea of international communism,
was a great 'observer' of human life and society. He was a
fascinating figure who observed a great deal and from whom
we can learn a great deal,' he said." In "Jeremy Corbyn:
Britain can learn from Karl Marx," by Tim Ross, Telegraph
UK, 26 July 2015.
Britain "can learn from Karl Marx," a man who lived and died
in Britain, and wrote in German the "Manifest der
Kommunistischen Partei" (1848). But by way of contrast with
another, Adam Smith, Scot and author of "The Theory of Moral
Sentiments" (1759), and "An Inquiry into the Nature and
Causes of the Wealth of Nations" (1776), Corbyn has not said
he's learned "a great deal."
One wonders if Corbyn has noted that Marx' own text is the "Manifesto
of the Communist Party." Thus it is not merely a
socialist document nor a Marxist treatise, per se, but by
Marx' own words and in this single text, both "socialist"
In the original it ends with: "Die Kommunisten verschmähen
es, ihre Ansichten und Absichten zu verheimlichen. Sie
erklären es offen, daß ihre Zwecke nur erreicht werden
können durch den gewaltsamen Umsturz aller bisherigen
Gesellschaftsordnung. Mögen die herrschenden Klassen vor
einer kommunistischen Revolution zittern. Die Proletarier
haben nichts in ihr zu verlieren als ihre Ketten. Sie haben
eine Welt zu gewinnen."
Some then note his enthusiasm for Marx as "observer" of life
and society. "He just peddles the same old gospel of
fundamentalist socialism that has created human misery
wherever it has been tried." In "Absurd Marxist Jeremy
Corbyn is the dying gasp of rotten Labour," by Leo McKinstry,
Express UK, 14 September 2015.
Britain as well as Corbyn and the Labour Party might learn
from the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics, as well as the economic chaos in a number of
Marx-dedicated nations, with their loyalty to "the same old
Politicians like Corbyn rely on most within an electorate
including its media not to have read and fully comprehended
Marx, the Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital.
Collaborator with Communists?
How deep did Corbyn's enthusiasm for Marxist theory and its
application in Britain extend? One reads:
"....speaking for the first time about the allegations
yesterday, Mr Sarkocy directly challenged Mr Corbyn’s
account, insisting the MP had known about his role within
Statni Bezpecnost (StB) – the Communist era secret police
force in the country. 'It was a consensual collaboration,'
Mr Sarkocy said. At his home in rural Slovakia, the
64-year-old added: 'He was our asset, he had been
recruited. He was getting money from us'." In "Corbyn
'The Collaborator': Czech Communist spy reveals how he
recruited Labour leader in the Cold War and used him as an
'asset' to create network of informants in Russian
operation," by Kate Ferguson For Mailonline and Mario
Ledwith In Bratislava and Jack Doyle for the Daily Mail, 16
Additionally, the Labour Party has now had to suspend one of
its own for equally idiotic politics. One reads:
"...messages on her Twitter account, now deleted, suggest
strong support for Adolf Hitler who is referred to as 'my
man Hitler' and the 'greatest man in history'. Another tweet
hoped that Iran would use a 'nuclear weapon' to 'wipe Israel
off the map'. " In "Labour councillor suspended over
claims she called Hitler 'the greatest man in history',"
staff report, Telegraph UK, 10 April 2016. Mr.
Corbyn's party has shown several brutal sides of late.
This is followed by another Labour Party suspension and
subsequent firing: "Livingtone has repeatedly refused
to apologize for the comments, even after being harangued as
a 'racist, Hitler-apologist' by an MP from his own party. He
has even doubled down on his remarks in an interview with an
Arabic TV station, while branding the creation of Israel
'fundamentally wrong.' On Saturday, the Global Radio firm
announced Livingstone - a senior aide to Labour leader
Jeremy Corbyn - would be having his Saturday morning show on
LBC Radio cancelled as a result of his comments. LBC is
London's most popular talk radio station." In "Ken
Livingstone fired from radio show for anti-Semitic remarks,"
by Ari Soffer, Arutz Shea, 28 May 2016.
As his own party's Members of Parliament vote of no
confidence, he ignores the vote: "Jeremy
Corbyn has lost a vote of no confidence in his leadership
(172 votes to 40) but is expected to battle on to force a
contest in which Angela Eagle or Tom Watson is likely to be
the rival candidate." In "Labour crisis: Jeremy Corbyn
refuses to resign after losing confidence of 172 MPs as
Angela Eagle eyes up leadership challenge," by Michael
Wilkinson, Telegraph UK, 28 June 2016.
The crisis of this era of the British Left as seen in the
Labour Party under Corbyn is one of fumbling identity
politics which tries to appease contradictory demands. One
reads: "...today’s Labour party has limited
appetite for critically evaluating attitudes on the left to
anti-Semitism. It has even less for examining the
anti-Semitism within British Islam which characterises some
of its Muslim members. Ms Chakrabarti certainly did not
want to go there, just as a generation ago, as related in
Salman Rushdie's autobiography Joseph Anton (p. 6), Keith
Vaz realised it was too much trouble to go out of his way
for Rushdie, even when constituents solicited the author’s
murder. The left can have a relationship with Islamists,
or it can have a relationship with the broad working class,
in all its shapes, sizes, beliefs and colours. It cannot
have a long-term relationship with both, because their
values and aspirations clash. The working class does not
want or understand segregation, or restrictions on freedom
of speech to avoid 'offence'. It will not accept or excuse
jihadi violence. It is bewildered by a Labour party which
now contains people who, on social media, venerate Hitler or
the transportation of Jews. It has nothing in common with
the Muslim Brotherhood, no matter how good it is at buying
up sections of our intelligentsia. To the existential
crisis of the British left, we must add one more component:
the threat to its very existence brought about by engagement
with, and passive acceptance of, Islamism." In "ANALYSIS The
Islamization of the Labour Party Part 2," by Paul Stott,
Lapidomedia, 18 November 2016.
In the ongoing sage, one finds a vote buying scandal to
ensure Corbyn stay atop his own party as another challenges
from within it. One reads: "Labour received more
than 180,000 applications to sign up as registered
supporters, each paying £25 to get their vote - a total of
more than £4.5 million for the party coffers. The new voters
could play a decisive role in the battle between leader Mr
Corbyn and challenger Owen Smith, which is also open to
those of the party's 380,000-plus members who joined before
January 12 as well as affiliated supporters from unions and
other organisations." In "Corbyn 'vote-buying scam'
exposed: Secret funds 'aim to pay back the £25 Labour
sign-up fee if people join the party and then vote for the
under-fire leader to retain his position against Owen
Smith'," by Gerri Peev, Daily Mail, 20 July 2016.
Such is the nature of entrenched power for many a career
politician, but oddly informative who claims to heed the
concerns of the people -- and is willing to buy the votes
needed to rule even a political party. One might consider how different is
this from the productive, proven prosperous
Freedom is freedom is freedom
[ 4 ] The radical
cheers for the Soviet Union by an American poet circa 1930
have been proven a historical error. The history is other
than was imagined in 1930.
One reads: "The dissolution of the Soviet Union was
formally enacted on December 26, 1991, as a result of the
declaration no. 142-Н of the Soviet of the Republics of the
Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. The declaration
acknowledged the independence of the former Soviet republics
and created the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS),
although five of the signatories ratified it much later or
not at all. On the previous day, Soviet President Mikhail
Gorbachev, the eighth and last leader of the Soviet Union,
resigned, declared his office extinct, and handed over its
powers – including control of the Soviet nuclear missile
launching codes – to Russian President Boris Yeltsin. That
evening at 7:32 p.m., the Soviet flag was lowered from the
Kremlin for the last time and replaced with the
pre-revolutionary Russian flag." In "Dissolution of the
Soviet Union," Wikipedia article, n. d.
Thus history itself rewrites an aged Communist poet's paean:
"...the revolution fails! / Through Marx, the dissolute
vision, / Through Lenin, the captain of death."
Death? Yes, indeed, as
R. J. Rummel's scholarship
has collected the sad statistics of "democide," detailing
that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, from
1917-1987, was responsible for almost 62 million deaths.
This among the new vocabulary penned by Rummel is that some
governments are proven "mortacracies."
Given such a murderous history, it is sad to review the
false conclusion of an American poet from 1930, as to review
the assertion of the UK's Labour Party leader in early 2016
that Marx -- whether via the terms Marxism or Marx' own
term, Communism -- is somehow "back in fashion."
Not Be Wrong
But Rummel shows the hubris that "...communists could not
be wrong. After all, their knowledge was scientific, based
on historical materialism, an understanding of the
dialectical process in nature and human society, and a
materialist (and thus realistic) view of nature. Marx
has shown empirically where society has been and why, and he
and his interpreters proved that it was destined for a
communist end. No one could prevent this, but only stand in
the way and delay it at the cost of more human misery. Those
who disagreed with this world view and even with some of the
proper interpretations of Marx and Lenin were, without a
scintilla of doubt, wrong. After all, did not Marx or Lenin
or Stalin or Mao say that. . . . In other words,
communism was like a fanatical religion. It had its revealed
text and chief interpreters. It had its priests and their
ritualistic prose with all the answers. It had a heaven, and
the proper behavior to reach it. It had its appeal to faith.
And it had its crusade against nonbelievers. What made this
secular religion so utterly lethal was its seizure of all
the state's instrument of force and coercion and their
immediate use to destroy or control all independent sources
of power, such as the church, the professions, private
businesses, schools, and, of course, the family." In
"How Many Did Communist Regimes Murder?" by R. J. Rummel,
"Power Kills," University of Hawaii, November 1993.
While Marx holds some fascination for Corbyn and his
acolytes, other reading by Rummel would educate -- "Lethal
Politics: Soviet Genocides and Mass Murders 1917-1987,"
Rutgers, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1990.
A historical note about the "Red Renaissance" book by Lewis:
the back cover proclaims in 1930 "Western poetry has gone
unequivocally to the 'left', and is now interested only in
verse which heralds a better social order or exposes the
corruption and inequity of our present system." What the
ensuing decades have revealed in the corruption, inequity
and millions of deaths which the "revolution" yielded in but
one of a number of revolutions of the "left."
The model of left-right has been false for decades.
Left is Right, as Right is Left
[ 5 ] Orwell skewers
the "intelligentsia" of the Left but also skewers the
"moneyed class." Sometimes they are the same, one notes.
"The underlying fact was that the whole position of the
moneyed class had long ceased to be justifiable. There
they sat, at the centre of a vast empire and a world-wide
financial network, drawing interest and profits and spending
them--on what? It was fair to say that life within the
British Empire was in many ways better than life outside
The conclusion which may easily be reached is that those who
seek great power, like those who seek great wealth are quite
two sides of the same coin, the coin of the realm of
Left and Right
Thus from George Orwell's view in 1941 to Jeremy Corbyn's, a
redux towards Marx of today, and the stances of today's
elite of all parties' stances seeking ever more wealth and
greater power, there is an annoying
attempting to be spread.
[ 6 ]
There is -- or should be -- humor in the rewording of an
ideology published in 1847, and stated to be "the idea of
a solidarity economy, which is based on the ideology of a
community democratically controlling capital and resources."
What is a solidarity economy, except a "command" economy,
even if ostensibly democratically controlled, for when the
proletariat gains its dictatorship of the proletariat
in order that there be control of "capital and resources,"
then freedom is thereby denied.
Who exercises "control?" Those who lose a democratic
election and are thereby controlled by the winners lose more
than an election, in this old scenario. They lose their
freedom to disagree, as to control their own capital and
resources. All government controls to some extent, so the
only remaining question is: to what degree is control
exercised? When "capital and resources" become controlled,
The verbiage of these students in their opinion piece which
says a "solidarity economy" based on an "ideology" is not
new, though it seems to be. One need review, that such a
"solidarity economy" would be the same as this text affirms:
"... it will have to take the control of industry and of
all branches of production out of the hands of mutually
competing individuals, and instead institute a system in
which all these branches of production are operated by
society as a whole – that is, for the common account,
according to a common plan, and with the participation of
all members of society. It will, in other words, abolish
competition and replace it with association. Moreover, since
the management of industry by individuals necessarily
implies private property, and since competition is in
reality merely the manner and form in which the control of
industry by private property owners expresses itself, it
follows that private property cannot be separated from
competition and the individual management of industry.
Private property must, therefore, be abolished and in its
place must come the common utilization of all instruments
of production and the distribution of all products according
to common agreement – in a word, what is called the
communal ownership of goods." In "The Principles of
Communism," Frederick Engels, "Selected Works, Volume One,
p. 81-97", Progress Publishers, trans, by Paul Sweezy,
These next scholars, students at Tufts University, offer up
that "agéd model" dressed in new verbiage, as if new. One
notes that their declared values of "democracy, justice, and
sustainability" does not extend to the value of freedom and
individuality, for that is to be modulated by "the ideology
of a community democratically controlling capital and
The title of their op-ed imagines "moving beyond
capitalism," but how exactly? By returning to a reworked
ideology from 1847.
A challenge then for these students espousing their
"ideology of a community democratically controlling capital
and resources" is to explain how a similar,
real-world experiment is destroying another nation. One
reads: "The idea was that a productive apparatus
could emerge on the basis of state-owned and worker-operated
enterprises. The trouble with that is that basically these
companies, even though they were state-run, were competing
against much better profit-oriented enterprises." In
"What’s Behind The Economic Chaos In Venezuela, by Nick
Robins-Early,World post via Huffington Post, 2 June 2016.
This "idea" has resulted in poverty as one reads: "Her
monthly pay, including a food allowance, is 27,000 bolivars.
That’s $2,700 a month at the official exchange rate of 10
bolivars to the dollar. But Venezuelans have so little faith
in their currency -- or the government's ability to fix the
country's deepening economic crisis -- that a dollar can
fetch upward of 1,000 bolivars on the black market. At that
rate, Linares earns just $27 a month. Either way, it’s
not enough." In "It costs $150 to buy a dozen eggs in
Venezuela right now," by Mery Mogollon and Alexandra Zavis,
Los Angeles Times, 31 May 2016.
What is the difference between the protesting students at
Tufts and an average Venezuelan? The first argues loudly for
their "ideology of a community democratically controlling
capital and resources" and then can go to a local market
and buy eggs at a reasonable price, while the second lives
under the similar idea "that a productive apparatus
could emerge on the basis of state-owned and worker-operated
enterprises" and cannot afford the same eggs as the
Tufts students complaining about their economics classes.
The irony is telling, as these Tufts university students
demand so much while knowing so little.
Instructed not to
" 'At night we can hear them screaming, but we're not
allowed to do anything about it' the Marine’s father, Gregory Buckley
Sr., recalled his son telling him before he was shot to death at the
base in 2012. He urged his son to tell his superiors. 'My son said that
his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.'
Rampant sexual abuse of children has long been a problem in Afghanistan,
particularly among armed commanders who dominate much of the rural
landscape and can bully the population. The practice is called bacha
bazi, literally 'boy play,' and American soldiers and Marines have been
instructed not to intervene — in some cases, not even when their Afghan
allies have abused boys on military bases, according to interviews and
court records." In "U.S. Soldiers Told to Ignore Sexual Abuse of
Boys by Afghan Allies," by Joseph Goldstein, New York Times, 20
It's in the culture, don't you see?
It's how it's sometimes done.
It's just some strange flippancy;
It's someone's bit of fun.
It's multicultural liberally;
It's often some locals' game.
It's happened for years, tellingly;
It's the 'buck stops nowhere' game.
"One officer, Dan Quinn, was even discharged for
beating up a commander who allegedly chained a boy to a bed, raped him
multiple times, then beat up his mother when she tried to save her son.
And two other officers, Major Jason Brezler and Charles Martland, claim
they are earmarked for forcible retirement because they flagged the
issue of child sex abuse. According to Pentagon policy, sexual abuse
is deemed a local concern for the Afghan Local Police unless it is
deemed to be an act of war." In "American marines told to turn a blind
eye to child sex abuse and now my son is dead, says father of New York
marine gunned down by Afghan teen 'who was kept as a sex slave by
local police chief'," Mia De Graaf For Daily Mail and Jennifer
Newton for Mail Online, 21 September 2015.
Addendum of Impunity:
"The State Department, in its annual human rights reports,
has consistently said that sexual abuse of children remains pervasive in
Afghanistan. In its 2014 report, the State Department said that many
child sexual abusers are not arrested, and 'there were reports security
officials and those connected to the ANP (Afghan National Police)
raped children with impunity'." In "US general denies any US
military policy to ignore sexual abuse of boys by Afghan forces,"
Associated Press, 22 September 2015.
Addendum of the Unofficial
Wink, Wink, Nudge, Nudge: "The practice,
banned while the Taliban was in power in Afghanistan, is common among
Afghan military commanders and recently received global attention after
returning U.S. troops pointed out the unofficial policy was to try to
ignore it." In "Ghani promises crackdown on Afghan child sexual
abuse," by Ed Adamczk, UPI, 24 September 2015.
Addendum of Not Our Problem:
"...Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, says the U.S.
has no policy directing forces to overlook human rights abuses. Davis
told reporters on Monday that U.S. troops can report such incidents
through their chain of command, but added that sexual assault of
children, 'while abhorrent, it's fundamentally an Afghan law enforcement
matter'." In "U.S. Solider Punished for Helping Child Abused in
Afghanistan," Associated Press, 21 September 2015.
Addendum Revisiting a
Meaningful Campaign Speech: "Moreover, lasting
security will only come if we heed Marshall’s lesson, and help Afghans
grow their economy from the bottom up. That’s why I’ve proposed an
additional $1 billion in non-military assistance each year, with
meaningful safeguards to prevent corruption and to make sure investments
are made – not just in Kabul – but out in Afghanistan’s provinces."
In "Obama’s Remarks on Iraq and Afghanistan," Barak Obama, New York
Times, 15 July 2008. [
Addendum between 2008 and
2015: "Mr. Obama says little about the details of
Afghanistan. He shows scant interest in the country, though he is to be
forgiven for keeping Hamid Karzai and the other bandit chieftains of
Afghanistan at bay. He is keenly aware that his own good luck in hunting
down Osama bin Laden may have made a compelling case for a deep and fast
withdrawal from Afghanistan. So he obliges and splits the difference."
In "Obama’s Speech on The War That Is His and Isn’t," by Fouad Ajami,
New Republic," 23 June 2011.
Addendum of Troops Staying:
"The Obama administration is nearing a decision to keep more troops in
Afghanistan next year than it had intended, effectively upending its
drawdown plans in response to roiling violence in the country and
another false start in the effort to open peace talks between the
Taliban and the Afghan government." In "More U.S. Troops Seen Staying
in Afghanistan," by Matthew Rosenberg and Mark Mazzetti, New York
Times, 19 March 2015.
Addendum of Pentagon Progress
in Afghanistan: "The Taliban insurgency has spread
through more of Afghanistan than at any point since 2001, according to
data compiled by the United Nations as well as interviews with numerous
local officials in areas under threat. In addition, the United
Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan over the past two weeks has
evacuated four of its 13 provincial offices around the country — the
most it has ever done for security reasons — according to local
officials in the affected areas." In "Afghan Taliban’s Reach Is
Widest Since 2001, U.N. Says," by Rod Nordland and Joseph Goldstein,
New York Times, 11 October 2015.
A Modern Observation on The Anti-War Movement
- "Where have
all the critics gone, long time passing?"
[ 1 ] One notes
that the statement denying any US policy to "ignore sexual
abuse" is not accompanied by an affirmative statement to
actually become involved in incidents of sexual abuse.
Rather, low-ranking military who have done so have been
reprimanded, and therefore for these military personnel's
careers it would have been better for them had they ignored
sexual abuse. Such it the nature of government speak in
which the chain of command features many weak if not broken
One must then question what the current US administration
and NATO are doing in Afghanistan, if so many moral concerns
are "fundamentally" another nation's or culture's concern.
Why then these last seven years under Obama as regards
It becomes an odd feature of the conflict when
Western morality about "sexual child abuse" is more akin to
the Taliban's banning of the practice than to "warlords'"
continuing practice of it, all the while the Pentagon stance
differs in focus. One becomes mired in a discussion
refereed by cultural relativism.
But as to such relativism, one reads: "... the
opponent will always be able to point out that that claim is
false relative to some values of the parameter, and that
these values are no worse than those relative to which it is
true. This brings us back to the challenge articulated
above: the global relativist will have to explain what
normative constraints there are on beliefs and claims. For
otherwise the point of debate or of communication and
thought generally remains obscure." In "Global
Relativism and Self-Refutation," by Max Köbel, found in "A
Companion to Relativism," ed. Steven D. Hales, John Wiley &
Such is the dissonance between the State Department's 2014
remarks as against the Pentagon's 2015 remarks. Either
"sexual abuse of children" must be confronted by all
parties, or it should not. There is no "splitting the
Given the punishment meted out
against American troops for confronting sexual child abuse,
it seems the rhetoric contradicts the reality, and moreover
"obliging" and "splitting the difference" is mere optics in
place of a clear policy.
In the same way, one notes that the war in Iraq which the
Obama administration claims to have ended in 2012 rages on
in another incarnation. As the US retreated from Iraq
claiming the end war, war was heightened with the advent of
the Islamic State's appearance in the field of battle
vacated by the US and NATO. The "point of debate or of
communication and thought generally remains obscure,"
whether it be sexual child abuse among US allies in
Afghanistan -- the supposed "just" war -- or in the war
raging in Iraq.
Who is "instructed not to intervene?" Who instructs? These
are pressing questions which remain "obscure," and
perhaps intentionally obscure.
[ 2 ] '...while
abhorrent, it's fundamentally an Afghan law enforcement
matter' was the report by the AP of a US government
spokesperson. So when is a local behavior to be judged as
A famous example from history shows the dissonance between
cultural values. One reads of British values facing off
against Indian values in the 19th century. A British governor
general spoke of suttee, the Indian practice of burning a
wife on a husband's funeral pyre. His response: "Be it
so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the
funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn
women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property.
My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang
all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act
according to national customs." Napier, William. (1851)
"History Of General Sir Charles Napier's Administration Of
Scinde." London: Chapman and Hall.
In this light, the
Pentagon's assertion that sexual child abuse is to be left
to Afghan cultural traditions and enforcement, then the
Pentagon is not acting according to normative American customs. Nor is
it acting according to the United Nations Declaration of
Cultural values conflict, without a doubt. In this "modern
era" it remains so. One reads: "A British man and
woman jailed in Dubai for kissing in public have lost their
appeal against their conviction. Ayman Najafi, 24, and
Charlotte Adams, 25, were sentenced to a month in prison
with subsequent deportation and fined about £200 for
drinking alcohol. The pair were arrested in November after a
local woman accused them of breaking the country's
decency laws by kissing on the mouth in a restaurant."
In "Jailed Dubai kissing pair lose appeal over conviction,"
BBC, 4 April 2010.
Governments seem perplexed as to when to stand for their own
nations' values. One learns: "For 32 months between
December 2000 and August 2003 he was jailed in Riyadh for a
murder he did not commit, the car bombing of a British
engineer called Christopher Rodway in November 2000.
Mitchell was tortured until he confessed, forced to
read his confession on TV, tortured again to ensure he
wouldn't recant, and then sentenced to death in 2002 after a
10-minute secret trial." In "'I would have confessed to
anything'," a citation from "Saudi Babylon: Torture,
Corruption and Cover-Up inside the House of Saud," by Mark
Hollingworth with Sandy Mitchell, Mainstream Press, in
Guardian UK, 10 May 2005.
Like the Pentagon statement about obvious sexual child abuse
not being of highest importance, the British government has
yet to stand firmly on the side of its own citizen falsely
accused, or stand against coerced confession and against
torture. Such a governmental stance goes against "universal"
cultural norms as the world progresses, as too many
governments seem incapable of standing for high cultural
values in the face of pragmatic political triangulation.
Such as the Obama and Cameron administrations would do well
to recall a crucial text. "The Universal Declaration of
Human Rights," adopted in 1948, speaks of "a common
standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations."
Specifically as regards sexual child abuse, the declaration
is clear -- and universal. One reads: Article 3. "Everyone
has the right to life, liberty and security of person."
Article 4. "No one shall be held in slavery or servitude;
slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their
forms." Article 5. "No one shall be subjected to
torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
The Pentagon stance and statement read above evades
responsibility for advancing and protecting such basic human rights. The buck stops
[ 3 ]
Meaningful safeguards were promised. Corruption continued,
in spite of American political promises.
One reads: "More than £2bn of cash has been openly
flown out of Kabul airport since 2007, raising fears huge
sums of British and American aid are being creamed off by
corrupt officials. " In "Aid cash feared lost as £2bn is
flown out of Afghanistan," Ben Farmer, Telegraph UK, 28 June
2010. Would such corruption be, as the Pentagon stated about
sexual child abuse, "fundamentally" be "an Afghan law
As to Obama's campaign promise of 2008 that "safeguards"
would "prevent corruption," one reads this did not occur.
Rather the obvious, for America's latest Commander-in-Chief proved
himself unable to deliver on that promise.
"There may be a history of corruption in Afghanistan, but
the United States is continuing to create tempting, rich,
new targets such as fuel, and apparently enough Americans
are willing to join in the illegal action." In "Afghan
corruption, and how the U.S. facilitates it," by Walter
Pincus, Washington Post, 5 November 2012.
Years pass. Corruption grew.
"...the Joint Chiefs of Staff report stands out for two
reasons: It makes clear that some senior officers recognize
that a major military incursion can be disastrously
undermined by an overriding, nonmilitary factor, namely an
illicit national economy. And it acknowledges that the
U.S. military itself bears much blame for Afghanistan’s
enduring mess, due to its poor understanding of Afghan
traditions, mismanagement of key reform efforts, and weak
oversight of its local partners. The report displays 'a
critical awareness and candor often missing from official
documents,' says Sopko, the special inspector general. The
depth of the problem should have been clearer, the report
suggests, from polls showing that many Afghan citizens
believed local officials abused their power and that federal
decision-making was itself corrupt. " In "The U.S. Military
Was No Match for Afghanistan’s Corruption, The Pentagon
wasn’t just defeated by the country’s graft—the Pentagon
made it worse," by R. Jeffrey Smith, Slate, 6 May 2014.
This same Pentagon managed to be so outraged at obvious human
rights abuse as to state in 2015, "while abhorrent, it's
fundamentally an Afghan law enforcement matter."
What the Obama administration has done is turned a blind eye
to this. One reads further: "The behavior of these modern
slave owners belies an endemic problem that human rights
advocates and even NATO military personnel operating in
Afghanistan have observed for some time now, according to
reports. (The U.S. State Department included the rape,
abuse, and exploitation of Afghan children in its 2009
annual human rights report, released in March). But
observers say the age-old ritual of man-boy predatory sex,
which is obliquely condoned throughout Afghanistan because
of a pervasive fear or indifference about prosecuting it on
any serious level, according to numerous reports, has
proliferated after decades of poverty, corruption, and a
lack of enduring social institutions." In "The Rape of the
Afghan Boys," by Kelley B. Vlahos, Antiwar.com, 13 April
The Obama administration seems so conflicted with itself. It
Queer, don't you think?
Noun: rare, the action or
habit of estimating something as worthless; one of a number of very long
words that occur very rarely in genuine use. Mid 18th century: from
Latin flocci, nauci, nihili, pili (words meaning 'at little value') + -fication.
The Latin elements were listed in a well-known rule of the Eton Latin
Grammar. Pronunciation breaks: flocci|nauci|nihili|pili¦fi|ca¦tion.
Floxy, Noxy, and nihilist Peely
Were good little Babbitts, we see.
A little long-winded, yes, it is true:
But bibbity, babbitty, boo! Tee-hee!
Now Peely, who was naughtily nice,
Ran straight for a syntactical Device,
A words' worthy trap of sesquipedalian glue,
To be caught in its lettered and queued advice.
Jaws swung open; silly Bulls wide spilled
Until poor Peely was literally filled
With all that is rare, but quite much to chew,
Lexicographically too truly skilled.
He came to a bridge at an ox ford, where
Beaten, not eaten, all quite fair and square,
He held forth, droning Floxy and Noxsy their due,
Syllabifying, so seduced through its snare.
A mouse and a cat and blackbird or two
Fill out this tale, tall telling what is true;
Peely went tongue-tied, flung into bed,
For Floxy and Noxy had been wordily fed.
If mother is cooking your alphabet stew,
Arranged, clear pronounced, well defined just for you,
Be naught like Peely, naughtily nice.
There's jolly small price for such hullabaloo.
"...floccinaucinihilipilification meaning the act of estimating
something as worthless, or to quote Churchill 'this is the sort of
language up with which I am fed'." In a message by David Robert
Coleman to my wife, 24 September 2015.
Addendum of Long Words:
"From hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian, an extension of
sesquipedalian with monstrum ('monster') and a truncated, misspelled
form of hippopotamus, intended to exaggerate the length of the word
itself and the idea of the size of the words being feared; combined with
phobia." In "hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia," Wiktionary
article, 24 July 2015.
[ 1 ]
Addendum of Precise
Fertility: "A man with a scant vocabulary will almost
certainly be a weak thinker. The richer and more copious one's
vocabulary and the greater one's awareness of fine distinctions and
subtle nuances of meaning, the more fertile and precise is likely to be
one's thinking. Knowledge of things and knowledge of the words for
them grow together. If you do not know the words, you can hardly know
the thing." Henry Hazlitt, "Thinking as a Science," 1916.
Addendum of Vocabulary That
Ain't a Picture: "Dear me, what would this
barren vocabulary get out of the mightiest spectacle?"
[ 2 ]
of Cut-Rate Fertility: "...you ever met someone who's
babbling 'like' after 'like,' and then suddenly inserts a zinger of a
vocabulary word such as 'sycophant,' which means a person who acts
obsequiously toward someone important in order to gain advantage (or
'obsequiously,' which means full of or exhibiting servile compliance)?
All of a sudden, you're looking at this person in a whole new light.
Maybe they're smarter than you thought they were." In "11 Words That
Will Make You Sound Super Smart," by Shelley Emling, Huffington
Post, 28 October 2013.
Addendum of Grammar, Nonsense
and Learning: "Let schoolmasters puzzle their
brain / With grammar, and nonsense, and learning, / Good liquor,
I stoutly maintain, / Gives GENUS a better discerning." In "She Stoops
to Conquer, or, The Mistakes of a Night," by Oliver Goldsmith (1773).
[ 1 ] The article
cites another: "However, we assume that despite the best
endeavours of science, some phobias will always remain.
These include paraskavedekatriaphobia, or fear of Friday the
13th. And hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia, which is fear
of long words." By anonymous, The Scotsman, page 13,
19 April 2002. Sesquipedalophobia – fear of long words
-- is mentioned as well. Ere long....
[ 2 ] The quote in full:
“The truth is, Alisande, these archaics are a little too
simple; the vocabulary is too limited, and so, by
consequence, descriptions suffer in the matter of variety;
they run too much to level Saharas of fact, and not enough
to picturesque detail; this throws about them a certain air
of the monotonous; in fact the fights are all alike: a
couple of people come together with great random -- random
is a good word, and so is exegesis, for that matter, and so
is holocaust, and defalcation, and usufruct and a hundred
others, but land! a body ought to discriminate --
they come together with great random, and a spear is brast,
and one party brake his shield and the other one goes down,
horse and man, over his horse-tail and brake his neck, and
then the next candidate comes randoming in, and brast his
spear, and the other man brast his shield, and down he goes,
horse and man, over his horse-tail, and brake his neck, and
then there’s another elected, and another and another and
still another, till the material is all used up; and when
you come to figure up results, you can’t tell one fight from
another, nor who whipped; and as a picture , of living,
raging, roaring battle, sho! why, it’s pale and
noiseless—just ghosts scuffling in a fog. Dear me, what
would this barren vocabulary get out of the mightiest
spectacle?—the burning of Rome in Nero’s time, for instance?
Why, it would merely say, ‘Town burned down; no insurance;
boy brast a window, fireman brake his neck!’ Why, that ain’t
a picture!” In "A Connecticut Yankee In King
Arthur’s Court." Mark Twain, 1890, New York, NY: Charles L.
Webster and Co.
Happy PD - public domain
breaks the chain
"... the judge ruled that no evidence existed that the
Summy Co. -- the original company to assert a copyright claim -- ever
legally obtained the rights to the 'Happy Birthday To You' song from
whomever wrote it. Tuesday's ruling means that the song is now
considered a public work and is free for everyone to use without fear of
having to pay for it, according to a statement from the plaintiffs'
attorneys. Jennifer Nelson, one of the filmmaker plaintiffs and owner of
Good Morning to You productions, called the decision a 'great victory
for musicians, artists and people around the world who have waited
decades for this'." In "All the 'Happy Birthday' song copyright claims
are invalid, federal judge rules," by Christine Mai-Duc, Los Angeles
Times, 22 September 2015.
Happy PD to us,
Happy PD to us,
What was all that fuss, then?
Happy PD to us.
term 'public domain' refers to creative materials that are not protected
by intellectual property laws such as copyright, trademark, or patent
laws. The public owns these works, not an individual author or
artist. Anyone can use a public domain work without obtaining
permission, but no one can ever own it. An important wrinkle to
understand about public domain material is that, while each work belongs
to the public, collections of public domain works may be protected by
copyright." In "Welcome to the Public Domain," Stanford University
website, crediting "Getting Permission" by Rich Stim, Nolo Press,
Addendum of the Decision:
"The summary judgment record shows that there are triable issues of fact
as to whether Patty wrote the Happy Birthday lyrics in the late
Nineteenth Century and whether Mildred may have shared an interest in
them as a co-author. Even assuming this is so, neither Patty nor Mildred
nor Jessica ever did anything with their common law rights in the
lyrics. For decades, with the possible exception of The Everyday
Songbook in 1922, the Hill sisters did not authorize any publication of
the lyrics. They did not try to obtain federal copyright protection.
They did not take legal action to prevent the use of the lyrics by
others, even as Happy Birthday became very popular and commercially
valuable. In 1934, four decades after Patty supposedly wrote the song,
they finally asserted their rights to the Happy Birthday/Good Morning
melody -- but still made no claim to the lyrics. Defendants ask us to
find that the Hill sisters eventually gave Summy Co. the rights in the
lyrics to exploit and protect, but this assertion has no support in
the record. The Hill sisters gave Summy Co. the rights to the
melody, and the rights to the piano arrangements based on the melody,
but never any rights to the lyrics. Defendants' speculation that
the pleadings in the Hill-Summy lawsuit somehow show that the Second
Agreement involved a transfer of rights in the lyrics is implausible
and unreasonable. Defendants' suggestion that the Third Agreement
effected such a transfer is circular and fares no better." In
Conclusion, Case No. CV 13-4460-GHK (MRWx), Memorandum and Order Re: 1)
Cross-motions for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 179); 2) Defendants' Motion for
Leave to File Supplemental Evidence (Dkt. 223); and 3) Plaintiffs' Ex
Parte Application to Supplement the Record (Dkt. 224), by George H.
King, United States District Court for the Central District of
California, 22 September 2015.
Addendum of the Politics and
Law: "The Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA) of
1998 extended copyright terms in the United States. Since the Copyright
Act of 1976, copyright would last for the life of the author plus 50
years, or 75 years for a work of corporate authorship. The 1976 Act also
increased the extension term for works copyrighted before 1978 that had
not already entered the public domain from twenty-eight years to
forty-seven years, giving a total term of seventy-five years. The
1998 Act extended these terms to life of the author plus 70 years and
for works of corporate authorship to 120 years after creation or 95
years after publication, whichever endpoint is earlier. Copyright
protection for works published prior to January 1, 1978, was increased
by 20 years to a total of 95 years from their publication date. This
law, also known as the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, Sonny
Bono Act, or (derisively) the Mickey Mouse Protection Act, effectively
'froze' the advancement date of the public domain in the United States
for works covered by the older fixed term copyright rules. Under
this Act, additional works made in 1923 or afterwards that were still
protected by copyright in 1998 will not enter the public domain until
2019 or afterward (depending on the date of the product) unless the
owner of the copyright releases them into the public domain prior to
that. ...Both houses of the United States Congress passed the act as
Public Law 105-298 with a voice vote. President Bill Clinton
signed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 on October
27, 1998." In "Copyright Term Extension Act," Wikipedia article, n. d.
Addendum of Warner Settlement
of Class Action Suit: "...the settlement provides
a big final act to the class action lawsuit brought by film director
Jennifer Nelson, who was making a documentary about 'Happy Birthday' and
was asked to pay a $1,500 license fee. She sued to hinder Warners from
ever forcing film and TV producers, or others, to pay again. The
plaintiffs argued that a song appearing in early 20th-century children's
textbooks had to be in the public domain because of general publication,
abandonment or the length of the copyright term. By agreeing to the
settlement, Warners avoids going to trial to determine whether it should
be punished for collecting licensing money for many decades." In
"Warner Music Pays $14 Million to End 'Happy Birthday' Copyright
Lawsuit," Eric Gardner, Hollywood Reporter, 9 February 2016.
of Having to Pay Back: "A judge has approved a
settlement that will put 'Happy Birthday to You' in the public domain
and ordered the companies that collected royalties on the song for years
to pay back $14 million. U.S. District Judge George King approved the
agreement on Monday. It ends the ownership claims of Warner/Chappell
Music, the music publishing company that has been collecting royalties
on the song for more than 20 years." In "Company that collected
royalties for 'Happy Birthday' ordered to pay back $14million after
judge approves settlement that puts the song in the public domain,"
Associated Press, 28 June 2016.
Addendum of What Is
Paramount: " 'To claim copyright in a language
is to claim ownership over all possible thoughts and artistic expression
that might employ that language," the attorneys argue in the amicus
brief. "If not ownership, such a claim at least provides some support
for the idea that the copyright owner could, at some point, simply pull
the plug on any future development in the language'." In "Paramount
Copyright Claim on Klingon Language Challenged in Klingon Language,"
by Ed Krayewski, Reason, 28 April 2016.
of Bolero Freed in the USA: "Ravel died unmarried
and childless in 1937. His only heir was his brother Edouard, who died
in 1960, unleashing a bitter and complex legal battle over the rights
which at times has involved Edouard's nurse and her husband,
great-nephews and even a legal director of SACEM. But on Sunday, the
royalties will cease to be paid as Bolero enters the public domain --
and belongs to the world." In "Copyright expires on Bolero, world's
most famous classical crescendo," by Franck Iovene, Agence France Presse,
30 April 2016.
One may read of the ironic copyright flap over Karl Marx'
works in English translation, as translators of texts about
abolishing private property wrangle over private property
People before profits
the addenda and detailed footnotes.
One may also read of
Strike it rich
-- in this case, especially in the "Addendum
of a Hefty Settlement Fee sought by Warner Brothers
and the addenda and footnotes to
- the eighth dwarf is needy.
Judge King ended his decision: "Because Summy Co.
never acquired the rights to the Happy Birthday
lyrics, Defendants, as Summy Co.'s purported
successors-in-interest, do not own a valid copyrights in the
Happy Birthday lyrics."
One waits now for all who over decades paid Warner-Chappell
for performance rights for an invalid copyright claim to sue
for redress as for return of monies paid and perhaps
penalties as well. Such is the nature of litigation for all
parties thereto, as true for capitalists as for such as the
translators of such as Marx' anti-capitalist prose.
As to the politics of this "Mickey Mouse Protection Act" of
1998, one notes that America's
Left and Right
agreed to extend greater protection for corporate interests
over the public's interest in public domain works. One waits to see what the years leading to 2019 will
bring in terms of lobbying by copyright holders. Will the
copyright climate "freeze" again? It is assured
that some corporate interests lobby for this, even to the
end of what is termed a "perpetual copyright."
As to some history of this notion, under the heading of a
battle between booksellers, one reads: "When Donaldson v
Beckett reached the House of Lords in 1774 Lord Camden was
most strident in his rejection of the common law copyright,
warning the Lords that should they vote in favour of common
law copyright, effectively a perpetual copyright, 'all our
learning will be locked up in the hands of the Tonsons and
the Lintots of the age'. Moreover he warned that booksellers
would then set upon books whatever price they pleased 'till
the public became as much their slaves, as their own hackney
compilers are'. He declared that 'Knowledge and science
are not things to be bound in such cobweb chains.' In
its ruling the House of Lords established that copyright was
a 'creature of statute', and that the rights and
responsibilities in copyright were determined by
legislation. By confirming that the copyright term (that is
the length of time a work is in copyright) did expire
according to statute, the Lords also affirmed the public
domain." In "Perpetual copyright," Wikipedia, n. d.
One should add that culture and tradition should not "be
bound in such cobweb chains." There are those who disagree
and are so often still active proponents of chains effected
Anne O'Malley - down the
"In her tweets about the situation, Petosky said that TSA
agents calibrated the scanner for a woman, and the machine flagged an
anomaly -- 'my penis.' She said she 'disclosed [her] reality
immediately,' but the situation quickly escalated: Over the course of 40
minutes, Petosky said, officials patted her down twice, 'fully
disassembled' her luggage and put her in an empty room with an officer
holding the door." In "Transgender woman says TSA detained, humiliated
her over body 'anomaly'," by James Queally, Los Angeles Times, 22
[ 1 ]
Anne O'Malley's Peen was seen;
Patty Down therefore was keen
To hammer Anne's He from Gene,
Though She dressed in another mien.
Thus tweets the Birdie libertine,
"Standing in line too serpentine
To be groped just to demean,
I am She with her He machine.
Humiliated, stand I in between.
Oh, alas, alack, I lean,
A this-and-that way Figurine."
All states' rules so byzantine
Must be changed, thereby to glean
Anne O'Malley's Peen is Queen
Of each such outraged, upstaged scene.
All the world's a Stage to preen,
Awaiting the Surgeon's guillotine.
The kindest Cut, quick and clean
Could clip this Tale unforeseen.
Jennie Dare's dangling words careen,
Infecting the language with gangrene.
"Adults may display anxiety and depressive symptoms. Some adult males
have a history of transvestic fetishism as well as other paraphilias.
Associated personality disorders are more common among males than among
females being evaluated at adult gender clinics." In "Gender
Identity Disorder," Psychology Today, 17 February 2015.
of Being Neuter and Regrets Aplenty: "World
renowned sex change surgeon, Dr. Stanley Biber, in a letter to the
Superior Court of California, County of San Mateo, after performing
male-to-female sex change surgery, admitting the resulting genital
sex is 'neuter' not 'female' as he claimed on medical records.Contrary
to what you may think, male-to-female sex change surgery is a sex change
in name (documentation) only." In "Things I've Learned," by Walt
Heyer, SexChangeRegret, circa 2013.
Addendum of Diagnosis and
Treatment Access: "In the upcoming fifth edition of the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), people
whose gender at birth is contrary to the one they identify with will be
diagnosed with gender dysphoria. This diagnosis is a revision of DSM-IV’s
criteria for gender identity disorder and is intended to better
characterize the experiences of affected children, adolescents, and
adults. ... For a person to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, there
must be a marked difference between the individual’s
expressed/experienced gender and the gender others would assign him or
her, and it must continue for at least six months. In children, the
desire to be of the other gender must be present and verbalized. This
condition causes clinically significant distress or impairment in
social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. Gender
dysphoria is manifested in a variety of ways, including strong desires
to be treated as the other gender or to be rid of one’s sex
characteristics, or a strong conviction that one has feelings and
reactions typical of the other gender. The DSM-5 diagnosis adds a
post-transition specifier for people who are living full-time as the
desired gender (with or without legal sanction of the gender change).
This ensures treatment access for individuals who continue to
undergo hormone therapy, related surgery, or psychotherapy or counseling
to support their gender transition." In "Gender dysphoria Fact Sheet,"
American Psychiatric Association, 2013.
Addendum of Wanting a Phrase
Banned from the Language: "...every conversation has
ended the same way, with the teacher saying, 'Oh you know, boys will be
boys.' That statement effectively ends the conversation because it
leaves me too stunned and flabbergasted to respond. I bite my tongue
each time because I don’t want to be THAT parent who is viewed as
oversensitive and disengaged from reality. I also want to have a
productive dialogue that will allow the preschool to hear my concerns in
a way that may allow them to shift their thinking about how they address
these issues." In "The Danger of “Boys Will Be Boys,' Why this phrase
should be banned from vocabulary," by Elizabeth J. Meyer, Psychology
Today, 14 March 2014.
[ 2 ]
Addendum of a Culture that
Expects and Demands: "What makes a male child
become a 'boy,' as we understand that concept socially? In her new book,
When Boys Become Boys, Judy Y. Chu reports on her two-year study in
which she followed a group of boys from pre-kindergarten through first
grade. She concluded that most of what we think of as 'boy' behavior
isn't natural or authentic to boys, but is something they learn to
perform. Boys aren't stoic or aggressive or hierarchical; they aren't
bad at forming relationships or unable to express themselves. They
pick up all these traditional traits of masculinity by adapting to a
culture that expects and demands that they do so." In "How Boys
Teach Each Other to Be Boys," by Noah Berlatsky, Atlantic, 6 June 2014.
Addendum of Missing Parts:
"Occasionally, the hormones that trigger the
development of sex and gender may not work properly on the brain,
reproductive organs and genitals, causing differences between them.
For example, the biological sex (as determined physically by the
reproductive organs and genitals) could be male, while the gender
identity (as determined by the brain) could be female. This may be
caused by additional hormones in the mother’s system (possibly as a
result of taking medication), or by the foetus’s insensitivity to the
hormones, known as androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS). When this
happens, gender dysphoria may be caused by hormones not working
properly in the womb." In "Gender dysphoria - Causes," National
Health Service, United Kingdom, 29 April 2014.
[ 3 ]
Addendum of Being Not
Actually Women: "At least eight players on
Iran’s national women’s soccer team are not actually women,
according to regional reports lambasting the Islamic Republic for
unethical practices. These eight players have not fully completed sex
change operations, yet they are currently playing for the Iranian female
team, according to Arab language reports carried by Al Arabiya." In
"Players on Iran’s Female Soccer Team ‘Not Fully Women’," Washington
Free Beacon, 29 September 2015.
[ 4 ]
[ 1 ] A "transgender
woman" is a phrase made up of an adjective and a noun.
If the individual in question claims identity as a female,
is not then the use of the adjective itself a signifier of
offence committed by the writer of the article? If that
"transgender woman" speaks of "my penis," then the latest
definitions of gender words should include the body part as
a part (pun intended) of the definition. Perhaps then for
the "transgender man," a vagina might also be part of the
definition. At this point, what are such definitions, as the
politics of word play continues?
As to the notion of a transgender woman with a penis, unintended
hilarity can ensue when one recalls some lines from a poem, such as:
" 'A woman can be proud and stiff / When on love intent; ..." In
"Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop," by William Butler Yeats, 1933.
The same can be made tragi-comic, drawing lines from a novel such as:
"Men don't know women, or they would be harder to them." In "The
Claverings," by Anthony Trollope, 1867.
Or one might read with "his penis" in mind: "What song the Syrens
sang, or what name Achilles assumed when he hid himself among women,
though puzzling questions, are not beyond all conjecture." In "Hydriotaphia,
Urn Burial, Thomas Browne,(1658).
That quote opens a famous short story which speaks of the analyst:
"... the analyst in that moral activity which disentangles. He derives
pleasure from even the most trivial occupations bringing his talent
into play. He is fond of enigmas, of conundrums, of
hieroglyphics; exhibiting in his solutions of each a degree of acumen
which appears to the ordinary apprehension præternatural." In "The
Murders in the Rue Morgue," by Edgar Allen Poe, 1841.
As to costuming this little drama played out by an Anne O'Malley and a
Patty Down, one may rely on literature: "A sweet disorder in
the the dress / Kindles in clothes a wantonness: / A lawn
about the shoulders thrown / Into a fine distraction...."
In "Delight in Disorder," by Robert Herrick (1591-1674).
One reads below of enigmas and conundrums as
disturbance, distress, disorder and such. Such are
some anomalies showing themselves in this supposedly modern world. Shall
one take delight in them?
[ 2 ] The issue
becomes language itself, and what lies at the heart of the
matter then is a simple question: who defines a word?
Can a word, in fact, be defined, or are definitions to be
always in flux? If two disagree as to definition, which is
to claimed as the authoritative voice, and which must be
When a word or phrase "effectively ends the conversation,"
as was claimed, because it left the writer "too stunned
and flabbergasted to respond," then why have a
conversation in which inflammatory words and offensive
phrases are to be continuously adjudicated, thereby stopping
the conversation to begin with?
What is "natural?" What is "authentic?" When
one begins to question words as well as stereotypes, and yet
makes global statements such as "boys aren't stoic," are not
other stereotypes being asserted and the hierarchy of "who
decides" assumed. If "traditional traits of masculinity" can
be spoken of, as another excerpt shows, is not the language
then itself suspect, guilty of that which it sentences
others to be guilty?
Who is to be a singular authority as to which words and
phrases are to be banned? Each individual, individually? The state?
And what traditions are to be kept and which abandoned? Says
who? And why?
[ 3 ] For some
the problem is one of language, affecting individual and
societal behaviors. For others it is a clinical issue of
great importance, whether one terms it a "disturbance," a
"stress," a "disorder" or that dreaded and often banned
As the NHS notes: "The disturbance can be so
pervasive that the mental lives of some individuals revolve
only around activities that lessen gender distress.
They are often preoccupied with appearance, especially early
in the transition to living in the opposite sex role.
Relationships with parents also may be seriously impaired.
Some males with gender identity disorder resort to
self-treatment with hormones and may (very rarely) perform
their own castration or penectomy. Especially in urban
centers, some males with the disorder may engage in
prostitution, placing them at a high risk for human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Suicide attempts and
substance-related disorders are common."
As a "transgender woman" speaks of "my penis" in the
course of a "situation quickly escalated," distress
was the result of the disturbance. Is the
"transgender woman" an individual with "a disorder?"
Or should one remain "too stunned and flabbergasted to
Almost too easy to turn into irony, some media are noting
that one celebrity transgender still has her/his "Bruce."
And as to sex reassignment surgery, one follows this
celebrity: "It’s a woman’s prerogative, and
it’s not too late for Caitlyn Jenner to change her mind.
Sources say the former Olympic decathlon champion still has
her penis, and could revert to being a man, if being Caitlyn
doesn’t work out." In "Caitlyn Jenner still has her
penis," by Richard Johnson, Page Six, 3 June 2015.
One notes the grammar in
the article -- "still has her penis...." Such must be the
nature of "a woman's prerogative" in this era of
More obvious than this so-called anomaly, Jenner still has
male chromosomes, and therefore at the cellular level, "her"
chromosomes will continue to be "male."
Shall this era bring along a redefinition of the science of
biology and anatomy, both now to conform to political whims?
The tendency is there in politics as one might observe in e
review of a recent Soviet political practice. See footnote 4
to another rhyme and supporting addenda
which reviews the Soviet enthusiasm for fake science of
Who defines what? Or does the whole discussion about gender
as represented in
language simply descend into a
- a eunuch's cluck?
[ 4 ] A
transgender woman states she has a penis, specifically "my
penis," to the TSA in the United States. One wonders then
what the "not fully women" of the Iranian football team
One reads a recent report: "Ahmad Hashemian, head of
the Iranian football federation's medical committee, said
the clubs themselves were now obliged to carry out
medical examinations to establish the gender of their
players before signing them on contracts. 'If these
people can solve their problems through surgery and be in a
position to receive the necessary medical qualifications,
they will then be able to participate in [women's]
football,' Mr Hashemian, a qualified doctor, said in remarks
quoted by IRNA, the state news agency. Sex changes are
commonly carried out in phases in Iran, with the full
procedure taking up to two years and including hormone
therapy before the full gender transformation is completed.
Seven players have already had their contracts terminated
under the federation's gender test directive, according
to IRNA." In "Iranian women footballers to undergo gender
tests," by Robert Tait, Telegraph UK, 7 February 2014.
Another report is more direct: "Four footballers
from Iran's national women's team have been banned from
playing - because they are in fact blokes. The quartet
are among a several top 'female' players in the Islamic
Republic found to be men awaiting sex-change operations.
Yet despite the country’s ban on homosexuality and sex
before marriage, the stars have been told they will be
allowed back after surgery." In "Four Iranian women
footballers banned from playing because they are MEN,"
by Chris Richards, Mirror UK, 11 February 2014.
Tom, Dick and Harry
Tom, Dick and Harry
Built their tidy town;
Two voted one
Should wear its crown.
The one who voted nay
Was seen to frown,
And then he moved away.
The town shrunk down.
Betty, Sue and Martha
Were a clique of three;
Two elected one
By eminent decree.
The third, not included,
Elected then to flee.
The group collapsed
Like a trunk-sawn tree.
Various hues and colors
Of brightly cheery types
Clashed and collided
Amid the colored gripes.
Choosing up sides
According to types,
The harmony of colors
Was slashed with stripes.
Folks with differing canons
Believed assorted thought.
Ire rose in time;
Over much they fought.
What was happy business --
Each from the other bought --
Turned to open warfare
Their antipathy had brought.
One may choose a choice
As one so often might,
The choice being obvious:
Cooperate or fight.
One would think this easy,
And think folks bright,
But all too often hatred
Is the choice, the fact, the slight.
Idle days are spells to have
'gainst idols of the day.
Idylls sing pastoral songs
which carry woes away.
Wondering wanders woodlands
to loose what lies behind
As onward into quiet
strolls the idling mind.
Cycles - here today, though
Things collapse when struts erode,
As supports are torn away.
Each cycling cycles down its road
As day turns
What tumbles turns to fodder,
Scavenged to prop anew.
What falls finds new solder
To rise up
Reformed, rebuilt, yet transient
Form and edifice.
These -- impermanent, variant --
Rise on a
past like this.
Fleeting in each interim,
The models yet abide,
Patterns re-erect and shim
What goes around, comes around,
So says the well-worn phrase,
And this, across a changing ground,
throughout our days.
Things collapse as struts erode;
Supports are yanked aside.
The cycles curve by cusp and node,
Answers exist; keep reading;
Keep watch, well waiting to see.
How it all ends is misleading;
All ends, friends, eventually.
For whom does it end? Or why?
And where is the border of what?
Our chrysalis song prints butterfly
On synapses, muscles and gut.
Questions ask; by their asking,
Inquiries litter our road,
Bitter mistakes unmasking
Blind alleys through which we strode.
Answers there were and are;
Answers will be, yet unseen.
Leading all on is that pole star
Which centers, while failings careen.
Answers exist; keep believing.
Keep faith, while working to learn
The warp and the woof of life's weaving
Bright brilliant in time must burn.
The answerer lights that next candle
Where darkness once reigned supreme;
Answers exist, each a handle
To aim illuminations' beam.
It's too good to be true
- this applies to you
"Believe it or not, many economists argue that the
economy needs a sufficient amount of public debt out there to function
well. And how much is sufficient? Maybe more than we currently have.
That is, there’s a reasonable argument to be made that part of what ails
the world economy right now is that governments aren’t deep enough in
debt. I know that may sound crazy." In "Debt Is Good," by
Paul Krugman, New York Times, 21 August 2015.
[ 1 ]
I know that may sound crazy, but....
It's too good to be true;
Now drop your dime on that,
Or dollar up the ante
But ignore the caveat.
Caveat emptor -- Buyer, beware;
The warning bells alarm.
If none will heed the signals
It's sure there will come harm.
When too good to be true,
Why blinds the eye to signs?
Belly up to the bidding war
Where each heady dream shines.
More's the pity for the world
As dreams prop empty voids,
Bubbling, blowing, burgeoning,
"Too good" cry out tabloids.
The winners rush to claim
What losers they'll become;
In every gamed casino
The winning's just for some.
That last fool in's the one to fool
If one would sell the failing gruel
Of promises' spawned in a sinking pool
Where cash is king was always the rule.
I know that may sound crazy, but....
It's too good to be true;
Now drop big bucks on that,
Exploding wide the ante
While ignoring the caveat.
Caveat emptor - Buyer, beware;
Cassandras have their say.
When none will heed such warning,
Privation comes that day.
Envoi: "James S. Chanos built
one of the largest fortunes on Wall Street by foreseeing the collapse
of Enron and other highflying companies whose stories were too good to
be true. Now Mr. Chanos, a wealthy hedge fund investor, is working
to bust the myth of the biggest conglomerate of all: China Inc. As most
of the world bets on China to help lift the global economy out of
recession, Mr. Chanos is warning that China’s hyperstimulated
economy is headed for a crash, rather than the sustained boom that most
economists predict." In "Contrarian Investor Sees Economic Crash in
China," by David Barbozajan, New York Times, 7 January 2010.
[ 2 ]
Addendum of Debt As Future
Consumption Denied: "Debt is future
consumption brought forward into the present, but a corollary is that
debt is also future consumption denied. If you will have to pay both
principal and interest on debt in the future, then you are setting aside
and spending money on debt service that is no longer available for
current consumption. And, yes, that debt service goes to bondholders,
but their return of capital does not necessarily express itself in
consumption or further lending." In "Excess debt is
like a black hole, sucking in all the life around it," by John Mauldin,
Thoughts From The Frontline, Business Insider, 25 February 2015.
[ 3 ]
Addendum of a Worldwide
Warning over Debt: "The IMF said corporate debts in
emerging markets ballooned to $18 trillion (£12 trillion) last year,
from $4 trillion in 2004 as companies gorged themselves on cheap
debt." In "World set for emerging market mass default, warns IMF,"
by Szu Ping Chan, Telegraph UK, 29 September 2015.
[ 4 ]
Addendum of Quantitative
Easing into Communism: "...this is the endgame
of QE: Exploding debt, financial distortion, prolonged stagnation,
recurring recession, and the eventual government takeover of industry
and the economy. This appears to be the preferred alternative of
politicians and bankers who simply refuse to let the free markets
function the way they are supposed to. If interest rates were never
manipulated by central banks and QE had never been invented, the markets
could have purged themselves years ago of the speculative bubbles and
mal-investments. Sure we could have had a deeper recession, but it also
could have been much shorter, and it could have been followed by a far
more robust and sustainable recovery. Instead Washington has joined
Tokyo on the road to Leningrad." In "QE’s Creeping Communism," by
Peter Schiff, Euro Pacific, 3 November 2015.
[ 5 ]
Addendum of High Debt
Hampering: "The European Union on Thursday predicted
the region's economy will grow at "a modest pace" next year thanks to
cheap energy and central bank stimulus, but remains hampered by low
investment and high debt." In "EU predicts 'modest' economic
recovery next year," by Raf Casert, Associated Press, 5 November 2015.
Addendum of South Africa
Learning Debt is not Good: "... the country is
again moving towards the edge of an economic precipice. Public debt
is rising fast, as are the costs of servicing it. The economy has
staggered to a near-standstill. On December 4th Fitch, a rating
agency, cut its assessment of South Africa’s creditworthiness, saying
its debt was now just one notch above 'junk', financial jargon for bonds
below a certain rating that have a higher risk of not being repaid. On
the same day Standard & Poor’s, another agency, changed its outlook for
the country, implying it was likely to downgrade its rating to junk over
the next two years." In "South Africa gets a rating downgrade,"
Economist, 7 December 2015.
Addendum of Communist Chinese
Debt: "A major contributor for this imminent
recession is the fallout from a faltering Chinese economy. The
megalomaniac communist government has increased debt 28 times since the
year 2000. Taking that total north of 300 percent of GDP in a very short
period of time for the primary purpose of building a massive
unproductive fixed asset bubble that adds little to GDP. Now that this
debt bubble is unwinding, growth in China is going offline. The
renminbi's falling value, cascading Shanghai equity prices (down 40
percent since June 2014) and plummeting rail freight volumes (down 10.5
percent year over year), all clearly illustrate that China is not
growing at the promulgated 7 percent, but rather isn't growing at all."
In "A recession worse than 2008 is coming," by Michael Pento, CNBC, 15
[ 6 ]
Addendum of a Potent Cause
for Mischief: " 'Debts have continued to build up
over the last eight years and they have reached such levels in every
part of the world that they have become a potent cause for mischief,'
he said. 'It will become obvious in the next recession that many of
these debts will never be serviced or repaid, and this will be
uncomfortable for a lot of people who think they own assets that are
worth something,' he told The Telegraph on the eve of the World Economic
Forum in Davos. In "World faces wave of epic debt defaults, fears
central bank veteran," by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph UK, 19
Addendum of Krugman's New
York Times and Bad Debts: "Bad debts have been
a drag on economic activity ever since the financial crisis of 2008, but
in recent months, the threat posed by an overhang of bad loans appears
to be rising. China is the biggest source of worry. Some analysts
estimate that China’s troubled credit could exceed $5 trillion, a
staggering number that is equivalent to half the size of the country’s
annual economic output." In "Toxic Loans Around the World Weigh on
Global Growth.," by Peter Eavis, New York Times, 3 February 2016.
Addendum of Foreseeing
Uncontrollable German Debt: "An internal
government report seen by Die Welt am Sonntag predicts that Germany will
have to take on uncontrollable debt if it doesn’t start making huge
budget cuts now. It’s the same old problem: not only Germans are
living longer than ever before, they’re not producing enough offspring
to replace them in the workforce. The result will be levels of debt
reaching 220 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2060 - well
above the 60 percent limit for EU member states set out by the
Maastricht Treaty in 1992 - experts from inside Wolfgang Schäuble's
finance ministry have calculated." In "Germany ‘must act now to defuse
debt time bomb’," TheLocal.de, 12 February 2016.
[ 7 ]
Addendum of Older Americans'
Larger Debt: "Americans in their 50s, 60s and 70s
are carrying unprecedented amounts of debt, a shift that reflects both
the aging of the baby boomer generation and their greater likelihood of
retaining mortgage, auto and student debt at much later ages than
previous generations. The average 65-year-old borrower has 47% more
mortgage debt and 29% more auto debt than 65-year-olds had in 2003,
according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released
Friday." In "New York Fed Finds Large Increase in Debts Held by
Those Over Age 50," by Josh Zumbrun, Nasdaq, 12 February 2016.
[ 8 ]
Addendum of Having Been Too
Good To Be True: "Cheap money has led to an
explosion in debt, taken on by governments, households and companies –
and despite the 2008 crisis being caused by too much debt, the levels
have risen since, he says. 'Overall debt has gone from 200 per cent
of global GDP in 2007 to 250 per cent now. The deleveraging hasn’t
happened,' he said, by which he means companies, households and
governments have not paid back enough debt to be ready for the next
crisis." In " 'Look out, we are heading for a crash again', warns
William White, the central banker who predicted 2008 crisis," by Alex
Hawkes, Mail On Sunday, 13 February 2016.
Addendum of Debt Is Good,
Chicago Style: "The teachers’ retirement fund is short
about $9.6 billion. The school system owes more than $6 billion to its
bondholders. On Wall Street, Chicago schools have the makings of
following the same path as Puerto Rico, which is struggling with a $70
billion debt crisis. 'They’ve run out of road,' says Dick Simpson, a
former city alderman who teaches political science at the University of
Illinois at Chicago. How did it come to this? Among the many
culprits, real or perceived, are recalcitrant unions, inept
administrators, feckless politicians and self-interested bankers. But,
in the end, the simple answer is this: too much debt. The budget
math is sobering. Since 2007, actual district spending has soared by
more than a third, even as enrollment has fallen 4 percent." In "School
of Debt: How to Bankrupt Public Education, Chicago-Style," by
Elizabeth Campbell, Bloomberg, 16 February 2016.
of Graduating Debtors: "Today total outstanding
student loan debt in the US is $1.2 trillion. Only home mortgage debt is
higher. About 40 million Americans hold student loans and about 70% of
bachelor’s degree recipients graduate with debt. Those who graduated
in 2015 left college holding an average of $35,051 before earning their
first paycheck to pay that debt off. One in four student loan borrowers
are either in delinquency or default… Are we still to believe that
such debt doesn’t matter because 'we owe it to ourselves' Professor
Krugman." In "Behind the Facade: America, The Bankrupt Hegemon," by F.
William Engdahl, New Eastern Outlook, 6 March 2016.
Addendum of Benefits
Without Paying For Them: "For years, the
territory’s government piled on the benefits without paying for them.
Now, it faces the prospect of stiffing retirees, or foreign creditors
... or both." In "Puerto Rico’s other crisis: impoverished
pensions," by Nick Brown, Reuters, 7 April 2016.
Addendum of Debt Is "Good,"
Globally: "Government debt in 20 industrialized
countries stands at $44 trillion. But it’s actually a lot more than
that, according to a new report. After factoring in public pension and
other retirement liabilities, the debt levels nearly triple to a
staggering $122 trillion." In "Global Government Debt Is Actually
Triple What We Thought, Thanks to Pensions," by Timothy W. Martin,
Wall Street Journal, 17 March 2016.
Addendum of Spanish
Debt: "Bank of Spain figures show that the
country's public debt is now worth more than the value of the economy.
The bank said Wednesday that Spain's public debt stockpile stood at 1.09
trillion euros ($1.23 trillion) in the first quarter of the year. That
represents 101 percent of the country's annual GDP — 1.08
trillion euros — in 2015. The government estimates the debt ratio will
be 99.1 percent of GDP at the end of 2016." In "Spain's debt now
worth more than value of the economy," CNBC, 18 May 2016.
of Communist China: "In the past year alone,
China has spent nearly $200 billion to prop up the stockmarket; $65
billion of bank loans have gone bad; financial frauds have cost
investors at least $20 billion; and $600 billion of capital has left the
country. To help pump up growth, officials have inflated a property
bubble. Debt is still expanding twice as fast as the economy. At the
same time, as our special report this week shows, the government’s grip
on finance is slipping. Despite repeated efforts to restrain them,
loosely regulated forms of lending are growing quickly: such 'shadow
assets' have increased by more than 30% annually over the past three
years. In theory, shadow banks diversify sources of credit and spread
risk away from the regular banks. In practice, the lines between the
shadow and formal banking systems are badly blurred." In "The coming
debt bust," Economist, 7 May 2016.
of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico Too: "The
Caribbean island, Puerto Rico’s closest American neighbor, has a sliver
of the population -- about 104,300 -- and a fraction of the debt, with
$2.4 billion across all issuers. But divvied up, that’s $23,000 of
obligations per person, even more than Puerto Rico’s $20,000. The
two Caribbean territories with a shared culture also have similar fiscal
strains: declining populations, underfunded pensions, histories of
borrowing to cover budget shortfalls and unemployment rates that are
twice as high as the U.S. mainland;s. 'It's the same template: Over a
period of years, you keep issuing debt to cover your operating deficits,
your economy isn’t growing, your population isn't growing, but your
liabilities keep growing,' said David Ashley, an associate portfolio
manager at Thornburg Investment Management, which holds $11.5 billion in
municipal bonds. 'Just by virtue of math, your per-capita debt just
continues to rise, probably to an unsustainable level at a certain point'."
In "More in Debt Than Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands Rejects Rescue,"
by Brian Chappatta, Bloomberg, 31 May 2016.
Addendum of the USA USA Debt
Time-bomb: "Nobel economics laureate Paul Krugman
once made the stupid argument that 'debt doesn’t matter.' Dick
Cheney back during the 2002 Washington budget debates over the wisdom of
making new tax cuts amid huge costs to finance the new Washington War on
Terror, made the equally stupid comment, 'Reagan proved that
deficits don’t matter.' In the real world, where debts of private
households, of governments like Greece or Portugal or Detroit City, or
private corporations like Chesapeake Energy or General Motors, effect
jobs, technology, entire communities or nations, debt certainly does
matter." In "The USA Debt Time-bomb Tocking, Ticking, Tock, Tick…,"
by F. William Engdahl, New Eastern Outlook, 28 July 2016.
[ 9 ]
See: Doses of Delusion
[ 1 ] One reads
the foolish title that "Debt is Good" from a "noted"
economic journalist. One might consider more fully the
- you bet!
finds so many apologists for the political elite selling
debt as the answer to debt, and yet....
...one might consider the source, as one reads of the
one-percenter Krugman and his upper class privilege. Not
particularly upper class, as one learns: "As of 2012,
Krugman’s net worth is estimated to be around $2.5 million."
In "About Paul Krugman," The Richest, n. d.
That a multi-millionaire is a multi-millionaire is
rationalized: "One thing to keep in mind is that
Krugman is most likely taking a salary cut by leaving
Princeton for CUNY. We don’t know what Princeton paid
Krugman, but we can ballpark it. The University of
California is one of many public universities that provides
information on how much it pays its employees, and a quick
look reveals a number of faculty members who haven’t
received Krugman’s accolades but who are being paid quite a
bit more than CUNY offered to pay Krugman. Having followed
the academic job market closely for some years now, I can
tell you that even Berkeley, the crown jewel of California’s
public university system, finds it difficult to match the
salaries offered by schools like Princeton, with its $17
billion endowment. And then there are the bloated salaries
public universities routinely offer athletic coaches. Far be
it from me to suggest that Paul Krugman will do as much for
CUNY as basketball coach John Calipari does for the
University of Kentucky. But Calipari earned $5.4 million in
2012. Isn’t it possible that Krugman might be worth
one-twenty-fourth as much as Calipari? Or maybe even a
little bit more?" In "Paul Krugman Isn’t a Hypocrite, A
$225,000 salary for the critic of inequality is more than
fair." by Reihan Salam, Slate, 16 April 2014.
Considering the "salary" mentioned above, and adding
income from books and op-ed writing for the New York Times,
it is assured Krugman's overal "salary" places him in a
certain economic class. After all some pigs are more equal
than others, suggested Orwell in his masterful allegory.
One would do well to consider the issue of
Of course, sports in academia as well as professional sports
features multi-millionaires, as do those who so easily
assist in awarding degrees on all sorts of social justice
issues, as one learns through
Doctor Oppression comes to call
Public celebrities and politicians manage wealth far above
the median income of Americans, all the while decrying
wealth too. Usually the wealthy decry those wealthier than
them, for the word is relative.
Yet of inequality and political protests one learns: "These
folks, many of whom work only blocks from where protesters
are gathering in Zuccotti Park, made an average salary of
just over $311,000 in 2009, according to the state
Comptroller's Office. (This figure does not take into
account certain income, losses and deductions that make up
adjusted gross income.)" In "Who are the one percent?"
by Fareed Zakaria, CNN, 20 October 2011.
So the question stands. Is debt good? So suggests a
millionaire writing in a newspaper owned by
multi-millionaires and billionaires. But for whom is debt good? Is debt good
- the Debtor Man.
See the rhyme and following footnotes for some
facts about Paul Krugman and how
Wealth defends the poor? Oh sure!
While a wealthy Krugman writes that "debt is good" with
a "maybe" dulling his "reasonable" argument, one finds the federal
government's Congressional Budget Office disagreeing
that debt is good. One
reads: " 'The growth in debt is not sustainable,' CBO
Director Keith Hall said in presenting the estimates. 'At
some point, it’s going to get to a very high level.
Obviously, you can’t predict tipping points, but at some
point this becomes a problem'." In "CBO report forecasts
unsustainable debt in long term," by Stephen Dinan,
Washington Times, 25 August 2015.
Referencing Krugman's article cited above, "And how much is sufficient? Maybe more than we currently have."
One can consider "debt is good" in the case of
A Government of Shame
a composer's view.
Or one might consider "debt is good" from the perspective of
Freshly out of options
Perhaps one should consider "debt is good" from the convoluted
story of a municipal bankruptcy and how its many citizens
- not sugarcoated.
Then again, one would see through much economic snake
oil by considering
Growth in debt
- a non-sequitur.
[ 2 ]
Chanos, unlike Krugman, observed years back: " 'Bubbles
are best identified by credit excesses, not valuation
excesses,' he said in a recent appearance on CNBC." What
is credit? A lender extends credit to a borrower, and the
borrower then is indebted by accepting the debt which
results from the exchange. Credit, from the lender, becomes
debt for the borrower.
As to the citations, both from the New York Times, one
finds one in an op-ed piece by a columnist and the other by
a reporter. All that remains is to identify whether or not
"debt is good." One notes of the op-ed piece that
there are wiggle words, as one re-reads, "And how much is
sufficient? Maybe more than we currently have." Maybe
yes, and maybe no.
This is followed by "I know that may sound
crazy." Maybe, yes. After all, much economic and
political prose features that non-clarity of
Could and May
- an up-to-date play.
With ideas as with assets and with debts, buyer beware.
Perhaps, lender beware is also advised.
A revisit to
[ 3 ] That
debt can be "good" in the parlance of a Krugman who so
easily writes modal words like "maybe," and at the same time
"debt is future consumption denied" are incompatible
notions. While Krugman's wiggle words are found in his
article, his title is unequivocal. Debt is good.
Mauldin writes, "Governments have outright defaulted
on their debt nearly 300 times in the past few hundred
years. Spain is the all-time winner, with six defaults in
the last 140 years and 12 if you go back to 1550. Italy and
Argentina have made a sport of defaulting this last century,
if you count monetization as a form of default, which it is.
While I can find no statistics, inflation and loose monetary
policies have almost surely destroyed far more buying power
than outright defaults have. There are times when a
government simply cannot pay its bills and must either
default outright or change the terms on its debt, just as
One might then meld the Krugman article title with the
Mauldin title, and then one might learn that "debt is good"
because "excess debt is like a black hole, sucking in all
the life around it." Thus debt is good, as it crushes
economic vitality, as the availability of short term, old
fashioned schemes [ see directly below ] function to
facilitate "opportunities for graft." If this sounds like
the logical conclusion, then Krugman's "reasonable" argument
serves one class of people -- those in government and
related to government who can avail themselves of
"old-fashioned" opportunities followed by "monetization as a
form of default."
While considering titles and opinions for NYTimes op-ed
pieces, one might add into the mix: "The time has
come to 'view ignorance as 'regular' rather than deviant,'
the sociologists Matthias Gross and Linsey McGoey have
boldly argued." In "The Case for Teaching Ignorance," by
Jamie Holmes, 24 August 2015.
It seems ignorance is indeed
"regular" and some stories are and have always been "to good
to be true."
[ 4 ] Perhaps the IMF did
not read Krugman's opinion piece. The warning is repeated,
only days later: "Governments and central banks
risk tipping the world into a fresh financial crisis, the
International Monetary Fund has warned, as it called time on
a corporate debt binge in the developing world.
Emerging market companies have 'over-borrowed' by $3
trillion in the last decade, reflecting a quadrupling of
private sector debt between 2004 and 2014, found the
IMF's Global Financial Stability Report. In "$3 trillion
corporate credit crunch looms as debtors face day of
reckoning, says IMF," by Mehreen Khan, Telegraph UK, 7
But then again, perhaps Krugman did not read the IMF report.
"I know that may sound crazy...."
[ 5 ] One only
need recall the words from the Communist Manifesto of 1848:
"Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by
means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive
monopoly. " In "Chapter II. Proletarians and
Many serious socialist thinkers of the early 20th century
saw a distinct difference between society and the state,
preferring society to the state. These thinkers were
targeted as enemies of various governments, for the obvious
reason that a government is the state and not society. What
central banks' quantitative easing and the creation of
massive "supposedly public" debts is in fact "too good to be
true." Schiff states openly this is creeping Communism, and,
reading Marx' own words, it is.
[ 6 ] If -- as
Krugman writes -- debt is good, then should not the 300
percent of GDP be even better than many Western nations' 60
to 120 percent of debt? Or Japan's 250 percent of GDP ratio?
It seems not. But it adheres to the Marxist dictum that "in
the hands of the state" all should be well. Until it is not,
of course, when the phrase pops out that "it's too good to
[ 7 ] The "too good to
be true" is a phrase of ringing accuracy. As one "runs the
numbers" on debt-laden governments around the world, the
notion that a social welfare state -- inspired by the myths
of socialist theory -- can generate economic growth in of
itself is proven repeatedly fallacious. Coupled to
generational demographic realities and the basic question of
"who repays," the answer becomes obvious. An argument such
as "rich" Krugman proposes serves him in the moment, but
does not serve the interests of the coming generations who
will have to deal with "uncontrollable" debt. Of course,
economists like Krugman and the other "1%" elite of the
world's nations will not busy themselves with repayment.
That is for the little people -- serfs, essentially.
But what does it mean "defuse" a "debt time bomb?" One
comes to the obvious conclusion: a government must take on
no more debt and begin to pay down existing debt. There is
no conundrum in the numbers, but a great problem for the
political speech which pretends linguistic turns of phrases
overrule basic arithmetic. I know that sounds crazy to a
[ 8 ] For whom
is such a reality "too good to be true?" For those lenders
of mortgage and auto loans receiving interest on their
investments, of course, and most of it collateralized,
unlike so-called "public" debt.
[ 9 ] Engdahl
observes the similarity between central banks' debt policies
and Ponzi schemes. "The Federal Reserve, along with
the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan have
reverted over the past two years to the unprecedented and
ludicrous policy of zero interest rates to keep their
financial Ponzi bubble inflating, not bursting. The ECB
and Bank of Japan recently have actually gone to negative
interest rates meaning banks y the ECB or BOJ to place
reserves in the central bank. The Fed is considering such a
negative rate policy shift. Today it has been calculated
that more than $13 trillion worth of government bonds
globally now have negative rates. That’s more than one-third
of all government bonds. That means someone buying those
bonds and holding until it matures, will actually lose
The comparison to a Ponzi scheme is apt, because the end of
the story is known in both cases of public debt -- which has
historically collapsed with governments abrogating debt --
and Ponzi schemes -- which collapse under their own weight
as well, and additionally are illegal. Consider that
governments through their central banks are officially
The counters of coin
"At the core of the scandal is an old-fashioned
kickback scheme." In "Petrobras Oil Scandal Leaves Brazilians
Lamenting a Lost Dream", by David Segal, New York Times, 7 August 2015.
Old-fashioned speaks; -- that nostalgic word
the criminally absurd.
Old-fashioned lies at the core of things
old-fashioned tune is what it sings.
Old-fashioned acts on this well-worn stage,
traditional roles of each, every age.
Old-fashioned habits, when thought passé
live loud and
large in this very day.
Old-fashioned seem to be of yesteryear,
dying hard all reappear.
Old-fashioned speaks; -- remembrance spurned
forgotten must be relearned.
Addendum of the Partido dos
Trabalhadores: "Starting in 2004, according to prosecutors, a
small number of top Petrobras officials colluded with a cartel of
companies to overcharge the oil company for construction and service
work. The cartel would decide which of its member companies would win a
contract to, for instance, service an oil rig or build part of a
refinery. This fake competition was overseen by Petrobras
confederates, who were rewarded with bribes. They kept some of the money
but shared much of it with political figures. (The company, while
publicly traded, is 51 percent government-owned, and more than a few
Petrobras executives owe their jobs to elected officials.) What has
stunned Brazilians isn’t the novelty of this fraud but its epic scale.
The first of many national gasps was emitted in December when a former
Petrobras employee named Pedro Barusco pledged to give back every cent
of his ill-gotten gains — all $100 million. It was just the beginning.
Mr. Barusco told authorities in February that the ruling Workers
Party had pocketed up to $200 million over the years, money that was
supposedly used to finance political campaigns." In "Petrobras Oil
Scandal Leaves Brazilians Lamenting a Lost Dream", by David Segal, New
York Times, 7 August 2015.
[ 1 ]
Addendum of Old-fashioned
Persistence: "The Mensalao scandal, involving
monthly bribe payments to members of parliament of the ruling Workers'
Party PT, makes an appearance at every election. Current allegations
that semi-governmental oil company Petrobras made payments to
politicians have also provided President Dilma Rousseff's opposition
with ideal fodder for the media. The fight against corruption has
consequently become a topic of national discussion. In June 2013,
Brazilians made their displeasure known and took to the streets. Among
other things, the mass protests led to the tightening of legislative
power in the Brazilian parliament and corruption being graded as a
capital offense." In "The persistence of corruption in
Brazilian politics," Deutsche Welle, 5 October 2014.
Addendum of Old-fashioned
Convictions: "...a judge in the southern state of
Parana ordered the arrest of Jose Dirceu, one of the founders of the
governing Workers Party. He served as chief of staff during the
government of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva between 2003
and 2005." In "Brazil businessmen sentenced to 16 years over Petrobras
scandal," BBC, 6 August 2015.
[ 2 ]
Addendum of the Center-Left Workers
Party: "The Workers' Party (Portuguese: Partido dos
Trabalhadores, PT) is a center-left political party in Brazil.
Launched in 1980, it is one of the largest and most important left-wing
movements of Latin America." In Workers' Party (Brazil), Wikipedia, n.
[ 3 ]
Addendum of Old-fashioned
Lying to the Citizens: "In a unanimous vote, the
Federal Accounts Court, known as the TCU, ruled that Rousseff’s
government manipulated its accounts in 2014 to disguise a widening
fiscal deficit as she campaigned for re-election." In "Brazil's
Rousseff loses legal battle, faces impeachment threat," Agence France
Presse, 8 October 2015.
Addendum of the Rich United
Socialists of Venezuela: "Venezuela put billions
of public funds into secret Swiss bank accounts, according to data
released Monday by the International Consortium of Investigative
Journalists and leaked by an HSBC whistleblower. According to the
data, Venezuela had $14.8 billion in HSBC accounts in Switzerland
between 1998-2007. That was more than any other country except
Switzerland ($31.2 billion) and the United Kingdom ($21.7 billion). The
vast majority of the funds appear to be linked to Venezuela’s Treasury
Office, which became an HSBC client in 2005. The office held as much
as $11.9 billion in the account at one point, according to the ICIJ and
reporters who had access to the data. By 2006-2007, however, the office
held three accounts with $698 million." In "HSBC leak shows Venezuela
among top clients in secret Swiss bank accounts," by Jim Wyss, Miami
Herald, 9 February 2015.
[ 4 ]
Addendum of Sufficient
Opportunities: "Why is there so much support
for government controls? What’s wrong with markets? In short:
insufficient opportunities for graft." In "Fast moving bad news
builds prosperity," by Glenn Harlan Reynolds, USA Today, 16 August 2015.
[ 5 ]
Addendum of Goldman
Opportunities in Malaysia: "...tens of thousands
of demonstrators poured into the streets of Kuala Lumpur on Saturday to
call for the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak whose government
has been accused of obstructing an investigation into how some $700
million from 1Malaysia Development Berhad mysteriously ended up in
Najib’s personal bank account. 1MDB was set up by Najib six years
ago and has been the subject of intense scrutiny for borrowing $11
billion to fund questionable acquisitions. $6.5 billion of that debt
came from three bond deals underwritten by Goldman, whose Southeast Asia
chairman Tim Leissner is married to hip hop mogul Russell Simmons’
ex-wife Kimora Lee who, in turn, is good friends with Najib’s
controversial wife Rosmah Manso." In "Mass Protests Sweep Malaysian
Capital As Anger At Goldman-Backed Slush Fund Boils Over," by
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, 29 August 2015.
[ 6 ]
Addendum of Old-Fashioned
Puerto Rico: "The U.S. Attorney's Office filed a
25 count indictment in the case, which will be heard in U.S. District
Court for the District of Puerto Rico. The charges include conspiracy
to commit federal programs bribery and honest services wire fraud, wire
fraud, extortion through fear of economic harm, money laundering, false
declarations before a grand jury, and obstruction of justice.
According to a press statement from the United States Attorney's Office
for Puerto Rico, Anaudi Hernández Pérez, who is charge of campaign
finances for the Popular Democratic Party, was at the heart of several
government corruption schemes. García Padilla and the majority of
members of the Puerto Rico Senate and House of Representatives are
members of the same party." In "FBI Arrests 10 in Puerto Rico Corruption
Case," by Robert Slavin, Bond Buer, 3 December 2015.
[ 7 ]
] "The PT [ Partido
dos Trabalhadores ] was never going to really represent the
masses’ revolutionary communist interests--mass reformist
parties are too bureaucratic and the class struggle too
explosive for that. What was needed inside the PT was for
revolutionaries to clearly explain that the leadership
represented the class enemy and to mobilize the most
class-conscious workers against the PT leadership—to prove
that the party could not be reformed and thus break as many
workers as possible from the PT in order to build a vanguard
revolutionary party." In "Brazil: Workers’ Party Betrays
Workers," originally published in Proletarian Revolution No.
70 (Spring2004). Marxists.org.
So say the Marxists, but as one watches across the world,
the top Communists in China become billionaires, while one
self-described Marxist-Leninist has led a failing state for
decades, testifying to
Socialism's Last Hurrah
- not democracy in any town,
and proof mounts up that
Socialists love money
Naturally, this sort of failure is the fault of capitalism.
One reads further from the Marxists' article: "The
struggle against the pension reform and the continuing
struggles of landless workers are only an indication of the
struggles that lie ahead. The PT’s further attacks on the
workers, urban poor and peasants will demand a massive fight
back. The key to its success will be whether
revolutionary-minded workers succeed in building a genuine
vanguard revolutionary communist party leadership capable of
breaking the working class from the PT leaders onto the road
of the struggle to overthrow capitalism. The deepening
crisis of capitalism means that there is no time to waste."
In spite of the rhetoric and undocumented political theory,
one sees clearly the fact of
Capital for Communists
a story growing old.
As to the NYTimes article's details, one notes: "To
date, 117 indictments have been issued, five politicians
have been arrested, and criminal cases have been brought
against 13 companies. Petrobras officials have pegged the
total of all bribes at nearly $3 billion, a figure that
makes the scandal at FIFA, world soccer’s governing body,
seem like the work of amateurs."
It seems the "deepening crisis of capitalism" is in fact
proven to be "socialism" -- corrupt, populist politics
portraying itself as representing the "people" as expressed
in another "workers' party." The article writes of "fake
competition" which is the opposite of capitalism.
But the PT has governed Brazil into a slow-motion collapse.
One reads: "...Ms Rousseff and her left-wing
Workers’ Party (PT) have made a bad situation much worse.
During her first term, in 2011-14, she spent extravagantly
and unwisely on higher pensions and unproductive tax breaks
for favoured industries. The fiscal deficit swelled from 2%
of GDP in 2010 to 10% in 2015. Brazil’s crisis managers do
not have the luxury of waiting for better times to begin
reform (see article). At 70% of GDP, public debt is
worryingly large for a middle-income country and rising
fast. Because of high interest rates, the cost of servicing
it is a crushing 7% of GDP. The Central Bank cannot easily
use monetary policy to fight inflation, currently 10.5%, as
higher rates risk destabilising the public finances even
more by adding to the interest bill. Brazil therefore has
little choice but to raise taxes and cut spending." In
"Brazil's fall," Economist, 2 January 2016.
Given this statement from 2016 -- "At 70% of GDP, public
debt is worryingly large for a middle-income country and
rising fast" -- one may now again consider the utterly
fallacious remarks of a New York Times pundit who said "debt
is good," as is cited above in
It's too good to be true
- this applies to you.
One notes the US is carrying more than a public debt of 70%
of GDP, something The Economist finds alarming in Brazil.
One might want to
connect the dots
] The new law
began, seemingly "toothless," according to some reports, and
now is being applied step by step.
One reads: "The move by a special anticorruption unit of the
Public Ministry, a body of independent prosecutors, advances
a preliminary inquiry into whether Mr. da Silva, 69, used
his influence on behalf of the construction giant Odebrecht,
which relies heavily on financing from Brazil’s large
national development bank, for contracts in Latin America
and Africa. The expansion of the investigation increases
pressure on both Mr. da Silva, one of Brazil’s most
influential politicians, and his protégée and successor,
Dilma Rousseff, who is facing calls of impeachment over a
scandal in which former executives at the national oil
company, Petrobras, said they had accepted huge bribes for
themselves and for leading figures in the governing
coalition." In "Brazil Adds to Tally of Corruption
Scandals With Investigation of a Former President," by
Simon Romero, New York Times, 16 July 2015.
"workers' party" is center left, so is it said. Mostly.
One finds the Wikipedia contributors' suggesting a "workers'
party" label is right and left. One reads: "Workers'
Party is a name used by a number of political parties
throughout the world. While the name has been used by
both left-wing and right-wing organizations, it is currently
used by left-wing followers of Communism, Maoism, Marxism,
Marxism-Leninism, Social Democracy, Socialism and Trotskyism."
In "Workers' Party," Wikipedia, n .d.
Missing from this list of ideologies is National Socialism,
which has become labeled as "right-wing." Consider:
We might have called ourselves the Liberal Party
When monikers seem to tell a tale, most often they
obfuscate, as might one read that
Left is Right, as Right is Left
Other Workers' Party politics is found around the world. A
survey might be instructional in grasping the term "center
left" which was used to describe a massively corrupt
Brazilian "workers' party," of which even the Marxists above
In the article to support the left-right model, the Workers'
Party of Social Justice in the Czech Republic is noted as an
adherent to "National Socialism."
Under the identified political orientation of Trotskyist,
one finds the Workers' Parties of Algeria, Argentina,
France, Sweden and Uruguay as well as the Workers
Revolutionary Party of Britain. Identified as
Communist are the Workers' Parties of Ecuador, India's
West Bengal, and Spain. Identified as Maoist are the
Workers' Parties of Bangladesh and Turkey. As Marxist,
the Workers' Parties of Barbados, Belgium, Finland, Ireland,
New Zealand and the United States. As Social Democrat
parties, the Workers Democratic Party of Egypt and Workers'
Party of Singapore.
The early Workers Party of America of the United
States became the Communist Party USA in 1929. A
differently-named United States Workers' Party of the
United States dissolved into the Socialist Party of
America in 1936.
Given the "massive" bribes amounting to billions and
sweeping up Brazil's Workers' Party politicians and crony, partially
state-owned businesses, one may reflect that the utopian
promises of "workers' parties" often develop an elite, a
class which was predicted by Marx' notion of a necessary
"dictatorship of the proletariat," as a pathway to some
further social development which could somehow then do away
with such an elite it helped to create. Oddly, so many
"people's" and "workers'" parties end up with an elite,
economically as well as in terms of temporal power. How
regressive is such easy and old-fashioned corruption.
In such a "center-left" world it only becomes prudent to
Bring presents to the party
But the party is over now. One reads: "Brazil’s
currency has plummeted to an all-time low and borrowing
costs have tightened viciously after Standard & Poor’s
slashed the country’s debt to junk status, warning
that the budget deficit has reached danger levels." In
"Brazil reduced to junk as BRICs facade crumbles," by
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph UK, 10 September 2015.
One notes the phrase, "budget deficit has reached danger
levels." And yet above one is told that "debt is good," a
view which should make one think,
It's too good to be true
- this applies to you.
The political response from Brazil current corruption-tinged
leadership is -- well -- political.One reads: "Mrs Rousseff
said Brazil would 'pay all its bills and meet all its
obligations'. Yet it is unclear how long she can last as
momentum builds for impeachment over her role in the
Petrobras corruption scandal. Signatures were accumulating
at 30,000 an hour on the pro-impeachment website on
Thursday. 'People are sick of this government, which has
yet to offer any way out of the crisis. It is utterly
incapable of governing,' said opposition leader Mendoca
What a similar phenomenon to the more advanced crisis in
Venezuela, where its "opposition leader" has been convicted
by the socialist government, corrupt and also "utterly
incapable of governing." One finds the "old-fashioned"
scheme being run throughout the world today, and
unsurprisingly failing. If Brazil's debt at less than 80% of
GDP is causing a "crumbling facade," one might turn
attention also to
- the Debtor Man, and debt of over 100 percent of GDP. The
] The notion
that socialism results in economic parity for all is given
A trail of old-fashioned corruption leads back to the elite
socialists of Venezuela, as it has in so many other
One recalls the populist promise so easily betrayed. Of Hugo
Chávez' and his United Socialist Party of Venezuela , one
reads: "In January 2005, he began openly proclaiming the
ideology of "Socialism of the 21st Century",
something that was distinct from his earlier forms of
Bolivarianism, which had been social democratic in nature,
merging elements of capitalism and socialism. He used this
new term to contrast the democratic socialism, which he
wanted to promote in Latin America from the Marxist-Leninist
socialism that had been spread by socialist states like the
Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China during the
20th century, arguing that the latter had not been truly
democratic, suffering from a lack of participatory democracy
and an excessively authoritarian governmental structure."
In "Hugo Chávez," Wikipedia article, n. d.
In January of 2005 was a time for "Socialism of the 21st century, and in
that same year according to the article cited above, "The
vast majority of the funds appear to be linked to
Venezuela’s Treasury Office, which became an HSBC client
in 2005. The office held as much as $11.9 billion in the
account at one point, according to the ICIJ and reporters
who had access to the data. By 2006-2007, however, the
office held three accounts with $698 million."
Demonstrably then "Socialism of the 21st century" included
secret Swiss bank accounts measured in millions and
billions. And of the United Socialists of Venezuela, one
follows the trail of wealth drawn away from the people of
Venezuela for that elite cadre of socialists: "Alejandro
Andrade, who served as Venezuela’s treasury minister from
2007 to 2010 and was reportedly a close associate of Chavez,
was discovered to have $11.2 billion in his name sitting in
HSBC accounts in Switzerland, according to documents leaked
by whistleblower Hervé Falciani." In "Being the
ex-President's daughter pays off: Hugo Chavez's ambassador
daughter is Venezuela's richest woman," by Pete D'Amato,
Daily Mail, 10 August 2915.
That the family and friends of Chávez seem to have become
enormously wealthy through this supposedly new "Socialism of
the 21st century" testifies to the fact that their "new"
scheme is in fact old-fashioned. Corruption of a socialist
elite is quite like the corruption of a Communist elite and,
basically, any political elite.
It was reported: "...the late-president's family
owns 17 country estates, totalling more than 100,000 acres,
in addition to liquid assets of $550 million (£360 million)
stored in various international bank accounts, according to
Venezuelan news website Noticias Centro. While ordinary
Venezuelans suffer growing food shortages and 23 per cent
inflation, the Chavez family trades in US dollars that now
fetch four times the official bank rate on the black market.
Living in numerous mansions in Alto Barinas, the city's most
affluent district, the family and their children live a life
of privilege, says Mr Azuaje, whose wife left him to marry
into wealth and now lives next to the Chavez mansions." In "Venezuela:
the wealth of Chavez family exposed," by Alasdair
Baverstock, Barinas and Peter Foster, Telegraph, 14 April
The story of such corruption continues to be further
exposed. One reads: "According to the Miami-based
Diario Las América, Venezuelan media sources will soon
publish materials showing that María Gabriela Chávez has
bank accounts in the U.S. and Andorra with assets totaling
nearly $4.2 billion. If the claim is true, Chávez’s daughter
would be the richest person in Venezuela, a country with
industrialists like telecommunications magnate Gustavo
Cisneros (worth $3.6 billion, according to Forbes) and food
and beverage mogul Lorenzo Mendoza ($2.7 billion)." In
"Hugo Chávez daughter is the richest individual in
Venezuela, report claims," FOX News Latino, 10 August 2015.
This it what 21st century socialism looks like.
Old-fashioned wealth for the few, and old-fashioned poverty
for the many, all accomplished through appealing and
emotional populist rhetoric, the empty theater of democratic
procedures with corruption and deep deceit behind the
The result is that socialism has yet again undergirded the
same as it has in other nations: a privileged elite arrayed
against the citizenry. Of the nation, one reads further:
"... it has introduced a system of rationing, limiting
shoppers to two days per week at government-controlled
stores. As Bloomberg cynically put it, 'Venezuela reduces
lines by trimming shoppers, not shortages'. President
Maduro returned empty-handed from his recent whirlwind
global tour: China didn’t want to lend him any money, and
oil producers didn’t want to cut production. However, he
does seem to have swung some sort of financing deal with
Qatar to soften the balance of payments problem. But in his
absence, his opponents seized the opportunity to liven
things up. Claiming that the country was 'in a state of
emergency', the opposition leader Henrique Capriles called
for people to 'mobilize in the streets'. It is all too
easy to see where this is headed." In "The Impending
Collapse Of Venezuela," by Frances Coppola, Forbes, 14
Further: "Such is the speed of Venezuela’s downward
slide that policy analysts, Western diplomats, economists
and opposition activists interviewed by The Telegraph this
week all admitted that no one knows where, or when, it will
end. " In "Venezuela's 'socialist paradise' turns into a
nightmare: medical shortages claim lives as oil price
collapses," by Peter Foster, Telegraph UK, 3 February 2015.
In only months: "What started as an effort to
alleviate poverty -- the most worthy of goals in a poor
country -- turned into a failed experiment in
populist-infused socialism. The government expropriated
businesses, tried to control prices and markets, and
generally disrupted the mechanisms of supply and demand
to the point where producing anything became unprofitable."
In "Venezuela's disastrous course," by Frida Ghitis, CNN, 10
Thankfully for the few privileged socialists atop the
scheme, billions have been siphoned off and deposited in
other nations, the hallmark of such a "democratic" socialist
As to "Venezuela's disastrous course," after an election in
which the opposition gained massively through elections, one
reads an interesting response: "Venezuelan
President Nicolas Maduro is using special decree powers to
declare an economic emergency in the oil-dependent nation.
The decree giving Maduro 60 days to enact sweeping reform
was published Friday in the official gazette just hours
before the president is expected to deliver his annual state
of the union address. Expectations for the speech are
running high because Maduro for the first time in 17
years of socialist rule will be delivering it to a congress
controlled by his opponents." In "Venezuela’s Maduro
declares economic emergency," by Associated Press, 15
In "17 years of socialist rule, " there is an economic
emergency. Of course it is other economic and political
forces, and never socialism which "rules" nations into
poverty and collapse.
Consider the resonant appeal of an assertion made by
socialists which I ask as a question:
Jesus was a socialist?
] The argument that
government "control" leads to sufficiency in graft is apt.
The article states: "Nassim Nicholas Taleb recently
tweeted: 'The free-market system lets you notice the
flaws and hides its benefits. All other systems hide the
flaws and show the benefits.' This drew a response: 'The
most valuable property of the price mechanism is as a
reliable mechanism for delivering bad news.' These two
statements explain a lot about why socialist systems fail
pretty much everywhere but get pretty good press, while
capitalism has delivered a truly astounding results but is
constantly besieged by detractors."
The individual cited, Taleb, is Distinguished Professor of
Risk Engineering at New York University's Polytechnic
Institute. His main subject matter is 'decision making under
opacity', that is, a map and a protocol on how we should
live in a world we don't understand. If there is opacity
enough in capitalism, there is significantly more under
socialism, in its various "command" economies because
corruption, as seen in the above examples, feeds the
government elite. Opacity must then be great to allow this.
When that opacity fails, with it the governments fail.
Taleb notes: "It has been more profitable for us to
bind together in the wrong direction than to be alone in the
right one. Those who have followed the assertive idiot
rather than the introspective wise person have passed us
some of their genes. This is apparent from a social
pathology: psychopaths rally followers." Nassim Nicholas
Taleb, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable,
Random House, 2007.
And so populism's seductive political speech lures in and
rallies followers, as the "assertive idiots" in so many
failed and failing economies attained power with rarely to
be met promises. One sees this in the examples of the
Workers' Parties above, and especially in the corruption of
the 21st century socialists of Venezuela.
Yet Reynolds continues: "Markets make people better
off, but they don’t provide sufficient opportunities for
politicians to extract bribes and intellectuals to feel
better about themselves. This explains why they’re
unpopular with politicians and intellectuals. The real
question is why anyone else listens to the self-interested
claims of politicians and intellectuals. Maybe because the
subject of what works and what doesn't in economics is
mostly written by journalists?"
Thus when journalists stop reporting on graft among the
governing elite, they fail, leaving "self-interested claims"
of politicians and their pet intellectuals as their
comparatively noisier message.
Such is the nature of populism and such in the reality of
The Privileges of Intellectuals
who are rarely willing to announce they have been publicly wrong, especially when they are
demonstrably wrong. After all, how often do those pet
intellectuals and their political masters and ideologies ever admit errors?
The more usual behavior is to amplify them even if wrong on
the facts, and then demand
allegiance. Such is the nature of that "correctness" --
political correctness -- which is political in the exercise
of its power, all so easily in service to the many, same-old
] It's only
money, and comparatively not as much as the Venezuelan
socialist elite has managed to grasp. "The two-day protest
brought onto the streets a political crisis triggered by
reports of a mysterious transfer worth more than $600
million into an account under Najib's [Prime Minister's]
name." In "Malaysia's Mahathir calls for 'people power'
movement to topple PM," by Trinna Leong and Al-Zaquan Amer
Hamzah, Reuters, 30 August 2015.
Looking back one learns: "Goldman Sachs Group
Inc. made about $500 million arranging three bond sales
in the past year for 1Malaysia Development Bhd., the state
investment fund led by Prime Minister Najib Razak, said a
person familiar with the matter. The total is almost as much
as Malaysia, Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy, pays
each month on its debt and compares with Goldman’s record
$694 million of global bond underwriting fees in the first
quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Goldman,
the securities firm with the fastest-growing
investment-banking fees, arranged $6.5 billion of bond sales
for the fund." In "Goldman Said to Earn $500 Million
Arranging Malaysia Bond," by Elffie Chew and Ye Xie,
Bloomberg, 9 May 2013.
Further: "Goldman helped 1MDB raise a total of $6.5
billion from three bond issues in 2012 and 2013. Even at the
time, the deals were controversial because they were so
lucrative for the bank. Goldman earned roughly $590
million in fees, commissions and expenses from underwriting
the bonds, according to a person familiar with the situation
– a massive 9.1 percent of the total raised. That was
almost four times the typical rate for a quasi-sovereign
bond at the time. It exceeds what Wall Street firms can
charge in what has traditionally been their most lucrative
work: taking companies public in the United States." In "A
Goldman risk, by Una Galani, Breaking News, 6 August 2015.
And now the Malaysians protesting in the streets want to
know about "a mysterious transfer worth more than $600
million into an account under Najib's [Prime Minister's]
name." The Prime Minister says it was a "donor," and wants
the investigation stopped. Yup.
old fashioned politician
is so very common throughout history and until this moment,
the simple truth is that corrupt politics has brought Puerto
Rico to a debt crisis of enormous proportions. One
reads: "Puerto Rico is in what the governor calls a
'death spiral' and 'humanitarian crisis.' The island has
repeatedly warned that it will have to modify its debts
(either by delaying payments or else trying to get creditors
to accept less than they are owed). But any restructuring
without Chapter 9 or some other federal process would be
very complex because the island is not a state." In "Puerto
Rico's debt crisis just got worse," by Heather Long, CNN, 28
One should link the statement by the Democratic governor
with the "government corruption schemes." To posture
that the debt crisis is a "humanitarian" issue is to divert
attention from the issue being criminal, and likely over
Little loyal lap dog
Little loyal lap dog
loves the lap's confines.
Loyal little yap dog
barks and loud opines.
Swaddled, modeled puppy,
wrapped up, balls and
mollycoddled pup, he
whines for lap dogged crumbs.
In the big bad world of dogs
the little lap dog loyal
would never yap for a
to guard or hunt or toil.
Loyal little lap dog
loves the comfy lap,
and his doggy grub and
and the lap dog's doggone nap.
Wedding Shredding --
bedding, treading, sledding
"If there is no magic power in opposite sexes when
it comes to marriage, is there any magic power in the number two?"
In "Is Polygamy Next?" by William Baude, New York Times, 21 July 2015.
[ 1 ]
Is there any power
in the magic number two?
Why not one? Or three?
What's their bugaboo?
Why not tens and hundreds,
as some old tales tell?
Why not things and animals?
Words can go to hell.
Definitions forced and changed,
enforced to slip the slope?
Words erode and wither;
when pushed, the envelope
Bulges, buckles, bursts its bonds
as meaning fades from view;
All twisting convolutions
are sworn to be true
And certainly as everything
means nothing much or more,
Why bother then to listen?
The whole becomes a bore.
Active "ists" for this and that
parade and puff some point,
But in the end their words turn limp;
Something borrowed? Something blue?
Magic now is turned askew.
Pandora's box is opened;
the words mix, morph and mate.
Such is the end of a tale,
with meaninglessness its fate.
Envoi of Meaninglessness:
"Before I knowed it, I was saying out loud, 'The hell with it! There
ain't no sin and there ain't no virtue. There's just stuff people
do. It's all part of the same thing. And some of the things folks do is
nice, and some ain't nice, but that's as far as any man got a right to
say." John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, 1939.
Addendum of the Magic Number
"A woman who vowed that she would marry herself if she didn’t
find love by the time she turned 40, actually married herself earlier
this month in a lavish ceremony here in Houston, according to reports.
Yasmin Eleby married herself at the Houston Museum of African American
Culture on January 3 in a lavish ceremony with10 bridesmaids in
attendance, plus family and other guests on hand to celebrate the
event." In "Houston woman marries herself in elaborate ceremony,"
by Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, 29 January 2015.
to the Addenda of the Magic Number One:
"It's not a legal process — you won’t get any tax breaks for marrying
yourself. It’s more a 'rebuke' of tradition, says Rebecca
Traister, author of All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise
of an Independent Nation. 'For generations, if women wanted to have
economic stability and a socially sanctioned sex life or children, there
was enormous social and economic pressure to do that within marriage,'
she says. 'Personally, as someone who lived for many years single and
then did get married, I know that the kind of affirmation I got for
getting married was unlike anything I’d ever had in any other part of my
life.' That, she adds, is 'incredibly unjust'." In "Why I Married
Myself," by Abigail Pesta, Cosmopolitan, 20 December 2016.
Adding to the Magic Number
One, Again: " If the secret to a happy marriage is
finding the right person, we can all stop looking. At least, according
to 'sologamists.' They're part of a growing relationship trend, in which
people are tying the knot to themselves." In "People are marrying
themselves, it's called 'sologamy'," WUSA-CBS News, 12 May 2017.
to the Magic Number One, Yet Again: " 'If one
day I find a man with whom I can plan a future I'll be happy, but my
happiness does not depend on him.' She added: 'I firmly believe that
each of us must first of all love ourselves. You can have a fairytale
even without the prince. This is my fairytale wedding - only without
a Prince Charming'. ...Self-marriage, or sologamy, is a growing trend
among singletons, with ceremonies conducted in countries from Australia
to the Netherlands." In " 'A fairytale without the prince': Italian
woman 'marries herself'," by Mark Molloy, Telegraph UK, 27 September
Addendum of a Same Sex Magic
Number Two: "The manifesto articulates a radical
agenda for a non-violent revolution in cultural values and social
institutions. It critiques homophobia, sexism, marriage, the nuclear
family, monogamy, the cults of youth and beauty, patriarchy, the gay
ghetto and rigid male and female gender roles. As well as opposing the
way things are, it outlines an alternative vision, including living
communally, gender-subversive radical drag and non-possessive
multi-partner open relationships. The message was: innovate, don't
assimilate. The manifesto's idealistic vision involved creating a new
sexual democracy. Erotic shame and guilt would be banished. There would
be sexual freedom and human rights for everyone – queer, bisexual and
straight." In "How the Gay Liberation Front Manifesto helped to shape
me," by Peter Tatchell, Guardian UK, 6 August 2013.
Addendum of the Instantaneous
Slippery Slope: "...includes the U.S. Supreme Court
case of Obergefell v. Hodges [26 June 2015], in which the court
upheld the fundamental right of same-sex couples to marry, and Kitchen
v. Herbert, the case that brought same-sex marriage to Utah. Turley also
cites a Supreme Court case that decriminalized all gay sex as sodomy,
Lawrence V. Texas. 'From the rejection of morality legislation in
Lawrence to the expansion of the protections of liberty interests in
Obergefell, it is clear that states can no longer use criminal codes to
coerce or punish those who choose to live in consensual but unpopular
unions, Turley wrote in his answer to Utah's appeal. When U.S.
District Court Judge Clark Waddoups overturned Utah's ban on polygamy in
December 2013, same-sex marriage wasn't mentioned in the ruling." In
"‘Sister Wives’ family points to same-sex marriage cases in arguing
against Utah polygamy ban," by Nate Carlisle, Salt Lake Tribune, 26
Addendum of a Magic Number
"A trio of gay men from Thailand got married on
Valentine’s Day in Uthai Thani Province, Thailand, according to Caters
News Agency. Joke, 29, Bell, 21, and Art, 26, are thought to be the
world’s first gay threesome to get hitched. The happy 'throuple' have
become Internet famous, as photos from the 'happiest day of their lives'
quickly went viral and Thai media outlets shared their unusual love
story." In "Meet the 'world’s first' gay married 'throuple'," by Fahima
Haque, NYPost, 27 February 2015.
Addendum of Another Magic
Number Three: "The so-called 'throuple' worked
with a specialist family lawyer who drew up the paperwork and drafted
the ceremony so that all three of them were obligated and bound to each
other. While Brynn and Kitten are legally married, Doll is handfasted to
both so the threesome are as equally married to each other as legally
possible." In "Here comes the bride. And another one. And another
one! Meet world's first married lesbian THREESOME . . . and they're
expecting a baby due in July," by Deni Kirkova, Daily Mail UK, 23 April
Addendum of Mormon Polygamy:
"Anne Wilde of Salt Lake City, co-founder of the polygamy
advocacy group Principle Voices, said polygamous families have lived
under the threat of arrest for decades and no longer have to worry about
being charged with a felony. There are
an estimated 38,000 fundamentalist Mormons who practice or believe in
polygamy, most living in Utah and other Western states, said Wilde,
who was a plural wife for 33 years until her husband died." In "'Sister
Wives' family wins Utah polygamy lawsuit," by Martin Griffith,
Associated Press, 15 December 2013.
Addendum of Same Sex
Threesome: "Three gay men say they have gained
legal recognition as the first 'polyamorous family' in Colombia, where
same-sex marriages were legalized last year." In "I do, I do and I
do! Colombia's first THREE-man marriage between a 'polyamorous family'
is legally recognised," by Kelly McLaughlin, Mail Online, 14 June
Addendum of Polyamory:
"For the uninitiated, polyamory (also known as ethical non-monogamy) is
the current incarnation of a subculture whose roots extend from
19th-century utopian communes to 1960s 'free love,' 1970s 'swinging'
lifestyles and open marriages and 1990s fetish communities.
In contrast to swinging, however, polyamory emphasizes transparency
and emotional commitment to all romantic and sexual partners, and
partners in a 'poly' family may cohabit or raise children." In
"Polyamory: Exploring the ins and outs of multiple partners," by Jeff
Fraser, Globe and Mail, 21 September 2012.
[ 2 ]
Addendum of Bridge and Bride:
"Though the new couple's union is not legally recognized in France, Rose
just as strong as any other marriage. 'While I respect those
whose romantic and sexual feelings are oriented towards objects, mine is
a symbolic affair, a pagan / animist view of the spiritual vibration in
everything,' she wrote on her blog, Bridgeland." In "Jodi Rose,
Australian Artist, Marries 600-Year-Old French Bridge Le Pont du
Diable," by Emily Thomas, Huffington Post, 3 July 2013.
Addendum of a Man and his Pillow:
"...he traveled to Japan to marry his beloved pillow with
the help of an indulgent local priest. He even outfitted the pillow with
its own custom wedding dress. It turns out, however, that the wedding
was more of a publicity stunt, as Lee admitted to the press that he’s
still unsure about going through with it. 'My love for Fate is
unchangeable, but I will take more time to think about our marriage'."
In "South Korean Lee Jin-gyu 'marries' pillow lover Fate Testarossa,"
Daily Telegraph, "16 March 2010.
Addendum of a Man and a Goat:
"A Sudanese man has been forced
to take a goat as his 'wife', after he was caught having sex with the
animal. The goat's owner, Mr Alifi, said he surprised the man with
his goat and took him to a council of elders. They ordered the man, Mr
Tombe, to pay a dowry of 15,000 Sudanese dinars ($50) to Mr Alifi." In
"Sudan man forced to 'marry' goat," BBC, 24 February 2006.
Addendum in the Hundreds:
"And he [ Solomon ] had seven hundred wives,
princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away
his heart." 1 Kings 11:3.
Addendum of Hoarding Women:
"Polyamory seems less unidirectional and to exist in all
kinds of variations, but when it comes to polygamous legal marriage, not
so much. To give you an idea of how rare it is for a woman to round up a
gaggle of willing grooms who will fawn all over her and provide her with
round-the-clock stud service as a team, we can look at this cool
research called the Ethnographic Atlas. It was published by George P.
Murdock in 29 installments from 1962 to 1980. As of the last edition in
1980, there were 1,231 societies listed--past and contemporary--from all
five inhabited continents. Murdock compiled all kinds of descriptive
information on those societies, systematically coding and organizing
multitudinous pieces of information for the purpose of comparative
research. Polygamy was one of the areas Murdock documented. Maybe pour
yourself a shot of whiskey as I lay some data on you. Of the 1,231
societies listed in the 1980 Ethnographic Atlas, 186 were monogamous;
453 had occasional polygyny; 588 had more frequent polygyny; and 4 had
polyandry. FOUR! Shall we now discuss patriarchy? Let's! Plural
marriage of the polygynous variety is patriarchy on crack. It is
obviously associated with status and hierarchies..." In
"Harem-seeking Men Use Legalization of Gay Marriage to Pursue Legal
Right to Hoard Women," by Lori Day, Huffington Post, 14 July 2015.
[ 3 ]
Addendum of the Incestuous
"...until they're able to move to New Jersey
where adult incest is legal, just not the father-daughter marriage. We
discussed whether it was wrong and then we kissed ... then we made love
for the first time. 'I don’t believe you need a piece of paper to prove
that you want to be with the person you love,' she argued of her plans
to go forward regardless of the legal filing." In "Great Lakes teen
says she plans to marry father in New Jersey after recently reuniting,
losing her virginity to him," by Nina Golgowski, NY Daily News, 19
Addendum of the Incestuous
Same Sex Wedding Shredding:
"The investigator says Patricia told her that she
reunited with Misty two years ago and they 'hit it off.' The
investigator says Patricia didn't think she was breaking any laws
because her name was no longer listed on her daughter's birth
certificate. Court documents say this is the second time Patricia
Spann has married one of her children. She married one of her sons in
2008, but the marriage was annulled in March 2010." In "Duncan
mom & daughter arrested for incestuous marriage," by Rhiannon Poolaw,
ABC News, 7 September 2016.
Addendum of Wedding Under the
"The father, who cannot be named to protect the
girl's identity, was found guilty of procuring a child under the age of
14 for unlawful sexual activity and encouraging the pair to have
intercourse despite denying the charges. Sydney's Downing centre
district court heard that he wanted to save the girl from what he
considered the sin of having sex outside marriage so when she reached
puberty he decided she should wed. When a 26-year-old Lebanese man, in
Australia on a student visa, showed interest in her the father consented
to a marriage, which was carried out by a local sheikh last year at his
home around 150 miles north of Sydney." In "Australian convicted for
marrying off 12-year-old daughter," Agence France Presse, 1 April
Addendum of Islamic Wedding for
"...the purpose of a temporary marriage is clear from its
name in Arabic—mut'a, pleasure. A man and a woman may contract a mut'a
for a finite period of time—from minutes to 99 years or more—and for a
specific amount, mehr in Farsi, which the man owes the woman." In "Married
for a Minute, Is Iran's mullah-backed system of temporary marriage a
godsend for the sexually frustrated—or religious prostitution?" by
Nadya Labi, Mother Jones, March/April 2010.
[ 4 ]
Addendum of the Slippery
Slope Argument Observed: "The leader of the Union of
Islamic Communities in Italy has said there is 'no reason' for polygamy
not to be legalised after the Italian government passed a law to
recognise the union of same-sex civil unions. In a Facebook status,
Hamza Piccardo wrote: 'There’s no reason for Italy not to accept
polygamous marriages of consenting persons. When it comes to civil
rights here, then polygamy is a civil right. Muslims don’t agree with
homosexual partnership and still they have to accept a system that
allows it,' he added." In "Islamic leader wants to legalise polygamy
in Italy," Catholic Herald, 18 August 2016.
Addendum of Islamic Wedding
for Rape: "Mueller was held for a time by Islamic
State financier Abu Sayyaf and his wife, known as Umm Sayyaf.
Al-Baghdadi took Mueller as a 'wife,' repeatedly raping her when he
visited, according to a Yazidi teenager who was held with Mueller
and escaped in October 2014. The 14-year-old made her way to Iraqi
Ku ds," by Ken Dilanian, Associated Press, 14
[ 5 ]S
Addendum of Naming It a
Religious Offering: "An elderly Afghan cleric
has been arrested after he married a six-year-old girl, officials
said on Friday, in the latest case highlighting the scourge of child
marriages in the war-battered country. Mohammad Karim, said to be aged
around 60, was held in central Ghor province as he claimed her parents
gave him the girl as a 'religious offering', officials said. But
they cited the family of the girl, believed to be in shock, as saying
that she was abducted from western Herat province, bordering Iran." In
"Arrested Afghan cleric defends marriage to six-year-old girl, saying
she was a 'religious offering'," by Agence France-Presse, 30 July 2016.
of Saudi Polygamy: "Latest
statistics have shown that in 2016 more than half a million Saudi men
are reported to have more than one spouse at a time. A recent annual
report on polygamy, a common practice in Saudi Arabia, has revealed that
around 73000 men between the age of 25 to 49 engaged in polygamous
relationships." In "Over half million Saudi men engaged in polygamy,
report shows," Alarabiya.net, Riyadh, 25 October 2016.
of Islamic Transgender Weddings: "A group of
clerics in Pakistan has declared marriage between transgender
individuals permissible in Islam, saying they have a right to be
buried in Muslim ceremonies, according to a copy of a religious edict
Reuters obtained on Monday. Transgender people also have full rights
under Islamic inheritance law, the Tanzeem Ittehad-i-Ummat Pakistan, a
little-known clerical body in the eastern city of Lahore, said in its
fatwa. 'It is permissible for a transgender person with male
indications on his body to marry a transgender person with female
indications on her body,' said the document, signed by 50 clerics
and issued on Sunday." In "Pakistani clerics declare transgender
marriages legal under Islamic law," by Mubasher Bukhari, Reuters, 27
of an App for Polygamy: "Nowadays polygamy is
practiced in 50 countries, including Indonesia, the country with the
most Muslims in the world, where 80 percent of the 250 million
population adheres to Islam. Lindu’s aspiration was to unite all those
men and women looking to create “great families.” So last April he
launched Ayo Poligami (loosely translated as 'let’s do polygamy'), an
app with many similarities to Tinder, in which users slide the images
left or right to indicate rejection or attraction." In "Want 4
Wives? In Indonesia, There’s an App for That," by Ana Salvá , The
Dpilomat, 2 November 2017.
of the Real Dilemma:
"...many people think of 'marriage' as a religious rather
than a legal term. If Christians suddenly started celebrating their
birthdays as 'bar mitzvahs,' it would probably upset some Jews, who
would see it as insulting. If atheists started wearing crucifixes to
signify their atheism, it would surely perturb some Christians, who
might see it as blasphemous. The real flash point about the word
'marriage' is that some people strongly associate the word with their
religious understandings, and those understandings most definitely do
not embrace same-sex relationships. Thus, even if they are willing, as
good citizens, to grant gays and lesbians 'all the rights married people
they can't stand the thought of seeing a 'sacred' word, and concept,
brutalized. This is a real dilemma." In "Same-Sex Marriage and the
Meaning of Words," by Geoffrey R. Stone, Huffington Post Blog, 25
[ 6 ]
Addendum of Wrong Datum:
"The real point of the matter is that what we call
a 'wrong datum' is one which is inconsistent with all other known
data. It is our only criterion for right and wrong." Isaac Asimov,
"The Evitable Conflict" in "Robot Visions," Roc Books, 1990.
[ 7 ]
Addendum of Artificial
Intelligence and Love: "This slippery-slope
argument has also been used to contend that the court’s decision will
open the door to legal recognition of bestiality or incest. Robot-human
marriages might be next on the list. Probably not soon, admittedly,
but it nevertheless will be an inevitable part of our future. Indeed,
some critics of same-sex marriage, including some conservative Christian
opponents of gay marriage, have argued that the court’s recognition of
same-sex marriage would inevitably lead to robotic-human marriages." In
"A.I. Thee Wed, Humans should be able to marry robots," by Gary Marchant,
Slate, 10 August 2015.
[ 8 ]
Addendum of a Stepford
Spouse: Wife... "This term is borrowed from the
fictional suburb of Stepford, Connecticut in Ira Levin's 1972 novel,
'The Stepford Wives,' later made into movies (in 1975 and 2004). In the
story, men of this seemingly ideal town have replaced their wives
with attractive robotic dolls devoid of emotion or thought." In "Stepford
Wife," by Rex Cavendish, Urban Dictionary, 13 July 2005.
[ 9 ]
Addendum of the Ends
Justifying the Means: "Sevier filed the lawsuits
as a form of protest against same sex marriage, saying probate judges in
Alabama are issuing marriage licenses to couples in same sex
relationships but not to polygamists and machinists. In the lawsuit, he
said of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same sex marriage:
'Moral relativist who have infiltrated the bench like a cancer cannot be
permitted to monkey with the Fourteenth Amendment just because they
believe that 'the ends justify the means' or because they feel
entitled to personally misuse government to enshrine their own jaded
religious worldview so that they themselves feel less ashamed and
inadequate out their own core beliefs that are demonstrably irrational
and a catalyst that erodes freedom through coercion'." In "Man files
lawsuit after AL county denies marriage to computer," by Holley Long,
WSFA Channel 12, 7 September 2017.
Addendum of Soviet Summer Brides and
Cheap Amusement: "Other peasants took advantage
of the loose divorce regulations to acquire 'summer brides.' As
the hiring of labor in Russia is hedged about with difficulties and
restrictions for the private employer, the richer peasants in some
districts took to the practice of marrying a strong girl for the
harvest season and divorcing her as soon as the work in the fields was
over. The new sex relations have also raised certain problems in the
cities. During the winter of 1924-1925 some of the older Communists
accused the younger generation, especially the students, of indulging in
too much dissipation, of squandering health and vitality in loose
connections; they blame the girl students for practising frequent
abortions. 'You must be either a student or a mother; under present-day
conditions you can't be both,' declared one mentor to the modern Russian
women students. The latter indignantly replied that love was almost
the only cheap amusement left to them and demanded that they be given at
least the same opportunity for free abortions that factory women enjoy.
Moreover, they retorted that not all the older Communists could serve as
a model of pure living." In "The Russian Effort to Abolish
Marriage," by "A Woman Resident in Russia," The Atlantic, July
Addendum of the Abolition of
Prostitution Both Public and Private: "Bourgeois
marriage is, in reality, a system of wives in common and thus, at the
most, what the Communists might possibly be reproached with is that they
desire to introduce, in substitution for a hypocritically concealed, an
openly legalised community of women. For the rest, it is self-evident
that the abolition of the present system of production must bring with
it the abolition of the community of women springing from that system,
i.e., of prostitution both public and private. " In Chapter II.
"Proletarians and Communists," Manifesto of the Communist Party,
Marx/Engels Selected Works, Vol. One, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1969.
Addendum of the
Bourgeois Marriage: "The ideology of bourgeois
marriage was first advanced by people with a powerful pro-female agenda,
which was to humanize a dehumanizing relationship. 'The
nineteenth-century cult of domesticity, so called, originated in a
systematic attack on patriarchal authority, led by an international
elite of doctors, philanthropists, and humanitarians,' Christopher Lasch
wrote in Women and the Common Life: Love, Marriage, and Feminism. These
reformers, most of them devout Christians, were incensed at the
callousness of the aristocracy, which taught its daughters little more
than fashion, flirtation, and the art of making socially advantageous
marriages. It's hard to grasp how counterintuitive it once was to be
in favor of the kind of monogamous, child-centered, middle-class
marriage we take for granted today. Mary Wollstonecraft, the founding
mother of feminism, was being quite radical when she argued against
turning women into frilly twits on the grounds that it hurt the
institution of marriage: Women, she said, were being conditioned to be
"alluring mistresses rather than affectionate wives and rational
mothers." In "Is Bourgeois Marriage Dead?" Culturebox, 6 March 2000.
Addendum of Contributing to
the Socialist Anti-family tradition: "Although Marx and Engels
were not the instigators of the anti-family tradition among
socialists, they -- especially Engels -- contributed mightily to
it." In "Marx, Engels, and the Abolition of the Family," Peter Wiekart,
History of European Ideas, Vol. 18, No. 5, 1994.
of the Relics of Bourgeois Prejudice: "...it is now
pretty evident that the widespread circulation of revolutionary ideas on
the desirability of abolishing the family has not by any means
eliminated old-fashioned passions of love and jealousy. The police
records are full of cases, some of them very terrible, of murders and
assaults and suicides committed by women under the influence of
jealousy. One such case may serve as an example. A peasant left his
village wife and began to live with a working woman in the town. The
village wife kept coming and making scenes before the second wife, until
the latter, irritated beyond endurance, poured benzine over her rival,
set her on fire, and burned her to death. Such elemental outbursts of
jealousy are condemned by the Communists as 'relics of bourgeois
prejudice'; but they continue to occur nevertheless, and even Communist
women have been known to commit suicide because their husbands'
attentions were diverted elsewhere." In "The Russian Effort to
Abolish Marriage," by "A Woman Resident in Russia," The Atlantic,
July 1926 Issue.
Addendum of a Sad Joke Like Unto the Above: "The family group consisted of three
adults and six adulteresses." (Anon.)
Addendum of Wedding as a
Punishment: "In a bid to reign in fraternization
between young men and women, authorities in the picturesque state of
West Java in Indonesia have decided to impose an early curfew of 9pm. If
any couple is caught dating after the curfew, they will be punished
by being forced to marry each other. This unconventional law will be
implemented from September 2." In "Indonesian state to punish dating
teens with marriage for breaking curfew," by Web Desk, Express Tribune,
2 September 2015.
"The history of marriage is one of both continuity and change.
Changes, such as the decline of arranged marriages and the abandonment
of the law of coverture, have worked deep transformations in the
structure of marriage, affecting aspects of marriage once viewed as
essential. These new insights have strengthened, not weakened, the
institution. Changed understandings of marriage are characteristic
of a Nation where new dimensions of freedom become apparent to new
generations." In "OBERGEFELL ET AL. v. HODGES, DIRECTOR, OHIO DEPARTMENT
OF HEALTH, ET AL. CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR
THE SIXTH CIRCUIT," No. 14–556.
of Justice Kennedy's Undefined, Indefinable Conclusion:
"...this Court’s cases and the Nation’s traditions make clear that
marriage is a keystone of the Nation’s social order."
Addendum of a Supreme Joke:
"A Tennessee judge said the Supreme Court's
decision to legalize gay marriage nationwide has left him unable to
determine what constitutes divorce. A Signal Mountain couple, Thomas
and Pamela Bumgardner, are still legally married even though they don't
want to be because of Hamilton County Chancellor Jeffrey Atherton's
stance, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. 'The conclusion
reached by this Court is that Tennesseans have been deemed by the U.S.
Supreme Court to be incompetent to define and address such
keystone/central institutions such as marriage, and, thereby, at
minimum, contested divorces,' Atherton wrote in his decision last week."
In "Judge Won't Divorce Straight Couple Because Gay Marriage Is Legal,"
by Simon McCormack, Huffington Post, 3 September 2015.
Addendum of At Least Two
Wives: "By law, the men are now required to marry at
least two wives, or face life imprisonment with hard labour. Similarly,
women who attempt to prevent their husbands from exercising the law
would spend the rest of their lives in jail. According to the document,
which has been circulating over the internet, the government of
Eritrea, which is currently facing a shortage of male population
following the civil war with Ethiopia, is willing to cover the necessary
wedding and accommodation expenses in a show of good faith towards
fulfilling the set mission." In "Eritrea men to marry at least 2
wives or face imprisonment," Zambia National Broadcasting, 27 January
Addendum of Agree with Us or
Else: In " 'When I read Justice Kennedy’s
decision, I wanted to embroider it on a pillow but wondered if it was a
sound legal opinion,' openly gay conservative columnist Guy Benson said
at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Benson spoke on a panel
which, primarily, focused on the SCOTUS decision. 'This conversation
could not be held at a left-wing conference,' he claimed, noting that
the Left demands more unanimity of thought, and action, on this issue
than does the Right. 'One of the most potent arguments that
proponents of same sex marriage had was that it would not affect those
who disagree with them but that argument went by the wayside when the
political objective was achieved, when it became, 'agree with us or
else,' ruining businesses, for example,' Benson said. 'I part
company with that.' He calls it 'cultural cronyism'." In "Gay Marriage
on the Rocks," by Malcolm A. Kline, Academia, 8 March 2016.
[ 17 ]
of the Ecosexual Wedding: "...a wedding was planned
for noon. Lead by UC Santa Cruz professor Elizabeth Stephens and Annie
Sprinkle, the effective leaders of the ecosexual movement, a group of a
little under 30 people huddled in a circle, complete with matrimonial
props and ocean-themed attire, and vowed to commit themselves to the
ocean. Diego Marquez, SMC Ecosexual Club president was one of them.
'It was actually our second marriage so it was kind of like renewing my
vows for me,' Marquez said. 'Most of our focus was on the
Ecosextravaganza this time — this was more like a little unwinding of
the work that we’ve been putting into that'." In "A romantic walk with
the beach: Ecosexual Club marries the Pacific Ocean," by Grace Gardner,
The Corsair (Santa Monica College), 23 May 2016.
of the Direction of Null Marriages and Not-marriage Marriages:
"...what direction is that? This one: Pope Francis
really—and I think, sincerely—believes: (A) most marriages (at least,
most Christian marriages) really aren’t, deep-down, marriages (and so
the annulment process has to be sped up to dispatch of what are, after
all, probably null marriages anyway, and the consequences of
post-divorce marriages need to be softened because most people in those
second marriages probably weren’t in true marriages the first time, and
so on); and, (B) lots of things that aren’t marriages (like
cohabitation and civil-only weddings between Catholics) really are,
deep-down, marriages (so we need to affirm them and assure them that
they enjoy the same graces as married people, and so on). " In
"Papal comments on cohabitation and civil marriage suggest a direction,"
by Edward Peters, JD, JCD, Ref. Sig. Ap., "In the Light of the Law, a
Canon Lawyer's Blog," 18 June 2016.
of a Wedding between the Living and the Dead: "At a
moving remembrance ceremony led by then president Hollande on April 25,
Cardiles said the killer would 'not have my hatred', echoing the words
of the husband of a victim of the November 2015 attacks in the French
capital." In "Posthumous wedding for gay French policeman killed by
jihadist on Champs-Elysées," by Evie Burrows-Taylor, TheLocal.fr, 31
of the Argument Based on the Supreme Court's Logic and the Slippery
Slope: "Chris Sevier says that if same-sex
couples are able to get married and demand that Christian bakers make
them wedding cakes, then he should be allowed to marry his laptop and
demand a cake to celebrate the union between one man and one machine.
The self-identified 'machinist' says he married his laptop in a ceremony
in New Mexico, and now he has sued to demand that a Colorado baker — who
is already in court after refusing to bake for a same-sex marriage —
must be compelled to make cakes for him and his computer 'bride.' He
also has filed a lawsuit demanding that Utah recognize his man-object
marriage. It’s the latest battlefront in an increasingly thorny area of
law, after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 established a constitutional
right to same-sex marriage." In "Man ‘marries’ his laptop, sues for
state recognition and a wedding cake," by Alex Swoyer, Washington Times,
30 July 2017.
of Incest and Marriage: "Prosecutors say
the two married in 2016. Court records show the marriage was annulled
last month at the request of Misty Spann on the grounds of fraud and
illegality. Patricia Spann has said she thought the marriage was legal
because she had lost custody of her daughter and two sons years ago and
isn’t listed on their birth certificates. Prosecutors say Patricia Spann
also married one of her sons. That marriage was annulled in 2010." In
"Oklahoma Woman Who Married Mother Pleads Guilty To Incest," CBS DFW, 10
Addendum from Literature:
"All tragedies are finish'd by a death, / All comedies
are ended by a marriage." In " Don Juan," Lord Byron (1788-1824)
Addendum of the
Heterosexual Men and Avoiding Taxation: "Two Irish men
have married in Dublin to avoid paying €50,000 in inheritance tax on a
house. Best friends Matt Murphy and Michael O’Sullivan are both
heterosexual, but decided to get married when they discovered how much
tax would have to be paid on the house Murphy, 83, intended to leave in
his will to O’Sullivan, 58, who is his carer. Same-sex marriage was
legalised in Ireland following a referendum in May 2015." In "Two
heterosexual Irish men marry to avoid inheritance tax on property," by
Pádraig Collins, Guardian UK, 23 December 2017.
Addendum of Weddings to Evade
Immigration Laws: "Federal prosecutors allege
57-year-old Peter Hicks, of Worcester, married the women from
sub-Saharan African nations who between 2003 and 2013 and filed for
immigration benefits for four of them. Some of the women were in the
U.S. illegally. Authorities also allege that on at least one occasion,
he was still married to one woman at the time of his marriage to
another." In "Man charged with marrying 6 women to evade immigration
laws," Associated Press, 31 January 2018.
[ 1 ]
And one reads further: "Chief
Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s dissent in Obergefell raised
this very question, intending to show
how radical the majority’s decision could become. But
the issue was hard to discuss candidly while same-sex
marriage was still pending, because both sides knew that
association with plural marriage, a more unpopular cause,
could have stymied progress for gay rights. (Opponents of
same-sex marriage had reasons to emphasize the association,
while supporters had reasons to play it down.) With same-sex
marriage on the books, we can now ask whether polyamorous
relationships should be next."
This proved immediately true: "...in his dissent,
Chief Justice John Roberts said that the legal argument used
to justify same-sex marriage could be used by polygamist
Collier said that argument inspired him to apply. Collier
met both of his wives in 1999. He married Victoria in 2000
and had a spiritual ceremony with Christine, he said.
Collier now wants to legalize his marriage to both of them,
he said." In "Montana man applies for polygamous
marriage license," by Lori Grisham, USA Today, 2 July
[ 2 ]
In an odd twist of language, one finds
"...some state officials and county clerks might decide
little risk in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex
couples." In " A timeline of same-sex marriage in the
US," Boston Globe, 3 July 2015. The twist is that now every
self-identified "married" individual, trio or multiple who
wants to be issued a marriage license has legal as well as
cultural precedent. Pandora's box of wedding invitations is
[ 3 ]
Note a feminist take on polygynous
"patriarchy." If there is a right to marriage and if there
is not magic in the number two, then do feminists have
grounds to complain when "consenting adults, a man and
women, " pursue their variant on marriage? The values and
indeed arguable rights of different perspectives on marriage
crash into each other, just as they did and continue to do
on the issue of same-sex marriage for two. Then three.
Yet one reads a different perspective by another feminist
with experience: "I call myself a feminist — but not
just any feminist.
My kind of feminism was forged in the fires of
Afghanistan. There I received an education — an
expensive, almost deadly one — but a valuable one, too. I
understand firsthand how deep-seated the hatred of women is
in that culture. I see how endemic indigenous barbarism and
cruelty is and unlike many other intellectuals and
feminists, I don’t try to romanticize or rationalize it. I
got out, and I will never return." In "My life of hell in an
Afghan harem," by Phyllis Chesler, NY Post, 21 September
[ 4 ]
One reads: "Khola Hassan, a
Sunni Muslim and spokesperson for the UK Islamic Sharia
Council, says the practice is strictly not allowed. She says
it is equal to prostitution because of the time limit
applied to the union. 'I have never come across a Sunni
scholar, throughout history, who declares mut'ah marriage to
be halal,' said Mrs Hassan. 'There is no difference
between mut'ah marriage and prostitution. There is a time
limit on the marriage, and the mahr given as a gift [from
the man to the woman] is the equivalent as a payment to a
prostitute,' she added." In "I do... for now. UK Muslims
revive temporary marriages," by Shabnam Mahmood and Catrin
Nye, BBC, 13 May 2013.
In another stream of Islamic thought in the UK, one finds:
"Although polygamy is permitted under sharia law, most
Muslim men do not have two, three or four wives. In fact,
according to 'The Salafi Feminist', a Canadian blogger,
average Muslims view second wives 'as little more than
secret mistresses, home-wreckers, and simply selfish'.
However, the growing influence of Islam in the UK combined
with a redefinition to allow homosexuals to marry makes a
push for legal polygamy more likely. In a recent article
in The Conversation, a Muslim lawyer argue that this is a
cause that feminists should champion. Zainab Naqvi, a
visiting lecturer at the University of Birmingham, pointed
out that the traditional definition of marriage in English
law as 'the voluntary union for life of one man and one
woman to the exclusion of all others' is no longer valid."
In "A British Muslim pushes for polygamy after same-sex
marriage," by Michael Cook, Mercator Net, 16 May 2016.
In a similar vein, one learns: "Although Mark
Goldfeder does not argue the right or wrong of plural
marriage, he maintains that polygamy is the next
step—after same-sex marriage—in the development of U.S.
family law. Providing a road map to show how such
legalization could be handled, he explores the legislative
and administrative arguments which demonstrate that plural
marriage is not as farfetched—or as far off—as we might
think. Goldfeder argues not only that polygamy is in keeping
with the legislative values and freedoms of the United
States, but also that it would not be difficult to manage or
administrate within our current legal system." In a sales
pitch for "Legalizing Plural Marriage," Mark Goldfeder,
University Press of New England, publication date 9 May
The easy takeaway from this is that the word, marriage, to
some now can mean any number of participants, from one to
many, any combination of genders and spoken of in a plethora
of ways, and any length of time, from the shortest to the
lifelong. And so, marriage means whatever someone says it
does, and the predicted friction over the word will only
make less cohesive society.
[ 5 ] Wedding
as rape? Some radical Western feminists argue versions of
this, yet so many stay silent on the truth of it around the
Courageous reporting is found, as one reads: "In the
moments before he raped the 12-year-old girl, the Islamic
State fighter took the time to explain that what he was
about to do was not a sin. Because the preteen girl
practiced a religion other than Islam, the Quran not only
gave him the right to rape her -- it condoned and
encouraged it, he insisted. He bound her hands and
gagged her. Then he knelt beside the bed and prostrated
himself in prayer before getting on top of her. When it was
over, he knelt to pray again, bookending the rape with
acts of religious devotion." In "ISIS Enshrines a
Theology of Rape," by Rulmini Callimachi, New York Times, 13
The article states: " 'He kept telling me this is ibadah,'
she said, using a term from Islamic scripture meaning
worship." Consider the fact of
[ 6 ]
I find this opinion amusing, because
among various proponents for retaining or changing the
definition of the word, so many tout "marriage equality" for
the "magic number two," while rationalizing a proscription
against some other number -- or even animal or thing. But as
seen above in various citations, there are many ways the
word is being used or abused, such that all pleas for
"marriage equality" contain in them some version of
inequality alongside a stance as being morally superior to
another's definition and use. Thus, one sees even the
phrase, "marriage equality," is its own dilemma.
Those who tout "marriage equality" but only for two reflect
the century-old satire: "Marriage, n: the state or
condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress,
and two slaves, making in all, two." Ambrose Bierce,
"The Devil's Dictionary," 1911.
The small sampling of other views as shown above demonstrate
that "two" is itself a prejudice.
[ 7 ] It can be fun to coin a word or phrase.
For this survey of varying proposed definitions of a single
word, marriage, there is "a wrong datum" in the mix. One
finds proponents one might identify as heterosexual two-ists
seeming arrayed against homosexual two-ists, but we see
other data above. One sees a one-ist, varying versions of
three-ists and groupists.
Corruptible and Beyond Human Capacity
Continuing on with Asimov's thought experiment in text, one
reads: "Humans are fallible, also corruptible,
and ordinary mechanical devices are liable to mechanical
failure. 'The real point of the matter is that what we call
a 'wrong datum' is one which is inconsistent with all other
known data. It is our only criterion of right and wrong. It
is the Machine's as well. Order it for instance, to direct
agricultural activity on the basis of an average July
temperature in Iowa of 57 degrees Fahrenheit. It won’t
accept that. It will not give an answer. -- Not that it has
any prejudice against that particular temperature, or that
an answer is impossible; but because, in the light of all
the other data fed it over a period of years, it knows that
the probability of an average July temperature of 57 is
virtually nil. It rejects that datum.
'The only way a 'wrong datum' can be forced on the
Machine is to include it as part of a self-consistent whole,
all of which is subtly wrong in a manner either too delicate
for the Machine to detect or outside the Machine's
experience. The former is beyond human capacity, and the
latter is almost so, and is becoming more nearly so as the
Machine's experience increases by the second."
Substituting "society" for "machine," one might see that
"the only way a 'wrong datum' can be forced on society is
to include it as part of a self-consistent whole, all of
which is subtly wrong in a manner either too delicate for
society to detect or outside society's experience. "Beyond
human capacity... society is almost so, and is becoming more
nearly so as society's experience increases...."
What then does a phrase such as "marriage equality" mean,
when one proposing it as anything more than an unexamined
slogan in the larger slogan soup of society argues against
"equality" for a group which said proponent defines outside
the boundary of "equality."
Asmiov reminds "...that correct data is indeed given, and
correct answers are indeed received, but that they are then
ignored. There is no way the Machine can enforce obedience
to its dictates." There is but a poor, ham-handed way
society can enforce obedience to its dictates.
You Mean It to Mean Meaninglessly
The bumbling Supreme Court decision ultimately answers
nothing, except to choose one prejudice over another and
define it as "right." The game is not over, and probably
will never be, for when all the examples above are stewed
together in one pot, the definition of the word "marriage"
comes down to "whatever you mean it to be." Nothing more,
and probably ever less.
A popular and sometimes politicized resource notes: "The
word 'marriage' derives from Middle English mariage, which
first appears in 1250–1300 CE. This in turn is derived from
marier (to marry) and ultimately Latin marītāre
meaning to provide with a husband or wife and
marītāri meaning to get married. The adjective
marīt-us -a, -um meaning matrimonial or nuptial could
also be used in the masculine form as a noun for 'husband'
and in the feminine form for 'wife.' The related word
'matrimony' derives from the Old French word
matremoine which appears around 1300 CE and
ultimately derives from Latin
mātrimōnium which combines the two concepts
mater meaning 'mother' and the suffix -monium
signifying 'action, state, or condition'." In
"Marriage," Wikipedia article, n. d.
That one-time "action, state, or condition" of being joined
with the possibility of "mother," i.e. motherhood, is
now any gender, of varying number and the word's etymology
is now but dusty history, as the definition of "marriage" is
now often "barren" in terms of child bearing and "whatever"
anyone says it is.
Marriage has no consistent definition any longer. "Such is
the end of a tale, with meaninglessness its fate."
[ 8 ] The same-sex marriage
advocates pretended there was no "slippery slope,"
advocating under the slogan of "marriage equality." Arguing
with slogans serves up nothing cogent, and serves only to
stir the pot
Demonstrably there is an easily observable slippery slope as
the above citations demonstrate.
Fundamental Right to Be Fundamentally Wrong
Marchant's argument continued: "The path to
recognition of robot-human marriage is likely to be equally,
if not more, lengthy, torturous, and contested. But as the
court emphasized at the close of its opinion in Obergefell,
the issue comes down to the 'fundamental right' of a
person in a free society to choose the nature of the
relationships and lifestyle they choose to pursue, providing
they do not unreasonably harm others in exercising their
choices. Robot-human marriage is not about robot rights;
it is about the right of a human to choose to marry a
That notion of fundamental right may be seen through
Asimov's notion of "wrong datum." If marriage is a
matter of individual self-identification and love a
completely personal choice, then Marchant's observation is
especially powerful. It is not about robot rights. It is not
about the number included in a legally recognized
relationship. Laughingly, it is not about bridge rights or
sex doll rights.
Marchant continues in a prophetic manner: "While few
people would understand or support robot-human intimacy
today, as robots get more sophisticated and humanlike, more
and more people will find love, happiness, and intimacy in
the arms of a machine. Robot sex and love is coming, and
robot-human marriage will likely not be far behind."
"Words erode and wither" and the legal twists of this new
"fundamental right" have only just begun, for the slippery
slope is indeed slippery, and it is very, very real.
[ 9 ] Only
decades after the publishing of that 1972 novel one
reads: "A Japanese company claims to have
reached the next level in developing the most genuine
looking sex doll which comes complete with realistic
feeling skin and authentic looking eyes. Orient Industry say
their new range of dolls, made from high quality silicon,
are so realistic there is very little to distinguish them
from a real girlfriend at first glance. The dolls, which are
non inflatable, are sold under the name 'Dutch Wives', a
Japanese term for a sex doll, and adverts in the media boast
that anyone who buys one will never want a real girlfriend
again." In "Japan's creepy sex doll industry 'reaches next
level' in creation of perfect artificial £4,000 ‘Dutch Wife’
which comes with 'realistic feeling skin'," by Jennifer
Newton, Daily Mail UK, 12 August 2014.
The robotic slippery slope slips. One learns: "The
Japanese population is in decline, the Japanese sex doll
trade is booming and the field of robotics seems to be
making startling new discoveries every single day.
Moreover, our traditional views on marriage, sex, gender and
relationships are changing dramatically when compared to the
generation that spawned our parents. It is this combination
that puts Japan at the cutting edge forefront of a bizarre,
yet predictably grim, new industry – sex robotics." In "#FutureHype:
When Japanese Sex Dolls ‘Come Alive’ With Robotics," by
Jordan Gold, Konbini, 27 November 2014.
New language alert: "Dr Driscoll, an expert on the
psychology of sex and relationships, said: 'We tend to think
about issues such as virtual reality and robotic sex within
the context of current norms. Robophilia may be alien
now, but could be normal in the near future as attitudes
evolve with technology.' The Sky News survey also found that
many people fear robots could take over the planet, and 60
per cent said the government should stop androids replacing
humans in the workplace." In "15 per cent of British men
(and a few women) would have sex with a robot," by Tim
Nixon, Sun UK, 2 September 2015. One must presume the others
are robophobic. But seriously....
...experts find that the science-fiction of the Stepford
wives moves closer to reality. One reads: "While there
are fears robots may rise up to take over the world if
artificial intelligence progresses too quickly, some of us
may find ourselves simply marrying machines in the future.
A leading computer scientist has predicted that as robots
become more human-like, people may start turning to them for
companionship." In "Would you MARRY a robot? Artificial
intelligence will allow people to find lasting love with
machines, expert claims," by Richard Gray, Mail Online, 12
One might return to the tales above of our one-ists, two-ists
of heterosexual and homosexual flavors, throuples of various
gender combinations and even larger groupings, and then
re-think the argument as represented by quotes from the
news: "Chief Justice John Roberts said that the legal
argument used to justify same-sex marriage could be used by
polygamist couples." He failed to foresee it could also
justify marriage to machines.
Yup. Wrong datum feeds the slippery slope, and the slip
slides towards people, things and 'whatever.' And the word
[ 10 ] While some late 20th century feminists might think they were
at the forefront in labeling marriage as not only
patriarchal but also just another form of prostitution, the
sentiment as quoted above comes from 1848. The founding
documents of the Communists labeled marriage from the narrow
focus of "production" viewed through the small lens of
Destroy the Most Hallowed of Relations
"On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois
family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its
completely developed form, this family exists only among the
bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement
in the practical absence of the family among the
proletarians, and in public prostitution. The bourgeois
family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement
vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital.
Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of
children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty.
But, you say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations,
when we replace home education by social." In Chapter
II. "Proletarians and Communists," Manifesto of the
Communist Party, Marx/Engels Selected Works, Vol. One,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1969.
Engels wrote much about this social revolution, as he saw
One reads: "We are now approaching a social
revolution in which the economic foundations of monogamy as
they have existed hitherto will disappear just as surely as
those of its complement-prostitution. Monogamy arose
from the concentration of considerable wealth in the hands
of a single individuals man-and from the need to bequeath
this wealth to the children of that man and of no other. For
this purpose, the monogamy of the woman was required, not
that of the man, so this monogamy of the woman did not in
any way interfere with open or concealed polygamy on the
part of the man. But by transforming by far the greater
portion, at any rate, of permanent, heritable wealth – the
means of production – into social property, the coming
social revolution will reduce to a minimum all this anxiety
about bequeathing and inheriting. Having arisen from
economic causes, will monogamy then disappear when these
causes disappear?" In "The Origin of the Family, Private
Property and the State," Frederick Engels, October 1884,
Will monogamy disappear? It has, to a large extent. One
report above says clearly "Chief Justice John Roberts
said that the legal argument used to justify same-sex
marriage could be used by polygamist couples." That
occurred almost immediately.
More than a century earlier, Engels foresaw this about what
he termed monogamy, albeit incorrectly. "One might answer,
not without reason: far from disappearing, it will, on the
contrary, be realized completely. For with the
transformation of the means of production into social
property there will disappear also wage-labor, the
proletariat, and therefore the necessity for a certain –
statistically calculable – number of women to surrender
themselves for money. Prostitution disappears; monogamy,
instead of collapsing, at last becomes a reality – also for
Marriage rates decline strikingly in many nations, and with
the decline in "bourgeois" marriage there is proven a
decline in birth rates to below-replacement numbers. Given
small populations of certain groups, the obvious and inverse
of Marx' and Engels' dream occurs. Wage-labor and the means
of production declines, as fewer find employment, a fact
borne out by employment statistics throughout this
Engels then made quite the same argument as did the same-sex
marriage proponents before the US Supreme Court, as he
wrote: "But the intense emotion of individual
sex-love varies very much in duration from one individual to
another, especially among men, and if affection definitely
comes to an end or is supplanted by a new passionate love,
separation is a benefit for both partners as well as for
society – only people will then be spared having to wade
through the useless mire of a divorce case."
The "modern" argument that marriage is about "love" failed
to define what love is, to begin with, a definition far
outside the province of law. The newest class -- same-sex
marriage, as approved by a "supreme" court -- now gets to
"wade through the useless mire of a divorce case."
Engels was clear in what he wrote: "What we can
now conjecture about the way in which sexual relations will
be ordered after the impending overthrow of capitalist
production is mainly of a negative character, limited for
the most part to what will disappear. But what will there
be new? That will be answered when a new generation has
grown up: a generation of men who never in their lives
have known what it is to buy a woman’s surrender with money
or any other social instrument of power; a generation of
women who have never known what it is to give themselves to
a man from any other considerations than real love, or to
refuse to give themselves to their lover from fear of the
economic consequences. When these people are in the
world, they will care precious little what anybody today
thinks they ought to do; they will make their own practice
and their corresponding public opinion about the practice of
each individual – and that will be the end of it."
Making "their own practice" is the theme of the many news
reports as cited above. Marriage as of one individual, two
of either gender, three and more, as well as marriage to
inanimate objects comes to this. "Marriage" and the
simple-minded slogan "marriage equality" mean nothing at
this juncture. And none of this concludes well for a society
now so in flux over a word -- marriage -- that it is as
Engels foretold. "...they will care precious little what
anybody today thinks they ought to do; they will make their
own practice and their corresponding public opinion about
the practice of each individual -- and that will be the end
Dolorosa, Many Times Over
Is this so? One reads: "The new report, 'The Moynihan
Report Revisited,' outlines some of the very same challenges
to the well-being of black families chronicled back then,
including acute and concentrated poverty in low-income black
neighborhoods populated by underemployed and unemployed
residents; crime; inequality in housing, employment,
education, health care, and the criminal justice system;
high rates of nonmarital births and children raised in
households headed by single women; and social welfare
policies that undermine the role of black men. (The report
also offers more context about the larger political, social,
legal and economic forces that have contributed to the
problems.) 'Today, the share of white children born
outside marriage is about the same as the share of black
children born outside marriage in Moynihan’s day,' the
Urban Institute report said. 'The percentage of black
children born to unmarried mothers, in comparison, tripled
between the early 1960s and 2009, remaining far higher than
the percentage of white children born to unmarried mothers'."
In "Was the Moynihan Report right? Sobering findings after
1965 study is revisited," by Marjorie Valbrun, Washington
Post, 13 June 2013.
Moreover, the day's political theorists are now thinking
about what to not "allow" parents to do. One reads: " 'What
we realised we needed was a way of thinking about what it
was we wanted to allow parents to do for their children, and
what it was that we didn’t need to allow parents to do
for their children, if allowing those activities would
create unfairnesses for other people’s children'." In
"Is having a loving family an unfair advantage?" by Joe
Gelonesi, ABC Australia, 1 May 2015.
Is having a loving family an unfair advantage? Or a
Marriage is no longer supreme in the new secular, legalistic
religion, as "nonmarital births" increase in the population.
Marriage is no longer clearly defined, but still being
legally challenged, as the above many citations demonstrate
Marriage is no longer encouraged except as a "means of
production" for state benefits such as insurance, welfare
and social security. It becomes merely a "fundamental right"
to pass on tax-subsidized "production" from party to party
(and soon parties).
Marriage, "public and private prostitution," "bourgeois" and
decrepit, is becoming abolished, in part as an attempt to
abolish the "present means of production" as dreamt
socialists for decades. Amen.
Now the challenge is to indentify a single post-modern
society in which prosperity through "scientific" socialist
leadership is spread to all equally. "...that will be the
end of it."
[ 11 ] What an effective way
to "abolish the family" than to define marriage into a state
of confused litigation and heated societal argument.
the Marxist Canon
One notes in an excerpt from the Marxist canon:
"Herr Grün, typical Young-German man of letters that he is,
betrays, when he treats of love, how little he has learned
from Fourier’s critique. In his opinion, it is of no
consequence whether one proceeds from the abolition of
marriage or from the abolition of private property; the one
must necessarily follow upon the other. But to wish to
proceed from any dissolution of marriage other than that
which now exists in practice in bourgeois society, is to
cherish a purely literary illusion. Fourier, as Grün might
have discovered in his works, always proceeds from the
transformation of production." In "Karl Grün - Fourierism,"
Volume II of The German Ideology, Critique of Modern German
Philosophy According to Its Representatives Feuerbach, B.
Bauer and Stirner, and of German Socialism According to
Its Various Prophets," by Marx and Engels, Fall 1845 to
Alas this secular theology attacked the poor, as one also
read: "The peasant villages have perhaps suffered
most from this revolution in sex relations. An epidemic of
marriages and divorces broke out in the country districts.
Peasants with a respectable married life of forty years and
more behind them suddenly decided to leave their wives and
remarry. Peasant boys looked upon marriage as an exciting
game and changed wives with the change of seasons. It was
not an unusual occurrence for a boy of twenty to have had
three or four wives, or for a girl of the same age to have
had three or four abortions'." In "The Russian Effort to
Abolish Marriage," by "A Woman Resident in Russia," The
Atlantic, July 1926 Issue.
With the now-successful attack on what has sometimes been
called "traditional marriage," and with marriage as a word
now being applied to a single person's celebration of self,
same-sex unions, the demand for recognition for more than
two in a union, as well as marriage to animals and things,
the "slippery slope" is become a ski jump of fast changing
arguments. The pretense that same-sex marriage was not the
first slip for the above documented examples was always a
specious argument proposed by those who assert
The Privileges of Intellectuals
If they believed their assertion, they are proven incorrect.
If they did not, they misrepresented the now proven next
steps in this shredding of weddings.
In the dissonance of what some call divisions
between "church and state," not only has the state won, but
in attempting to define marriage, it has become its own
secular religion and acquired yet another "sacrament" by simple,
legalistic conquest, already under legal attack for yet
La commedia è finita! Sort of....
[ 12 ] Might Islamic honor
killings around the world as media report them be "relics of
bourgeois prejudice?" One reads: "...the rate
of honor violence incidents extends far beyond homicides,
including: stalking, harassment, false imprisonment, forced
genital mutilation, forced marriage, and every form of
sexual/ physical/ emotional/ verbal violence that you can
imagine. There are surely many thousands of such
incidents every year, and most are hidden from our
awareness. Around the world, honor violence is a far greater
issue. The UN estimates that over 5,000 such murders occur
annually -- and that number only includes the few honor
killings that officials ever find out about. 800 million
women and girls live under the threat of honor killing,
terrified that if they make one wrong move, or are
unfortunate to be sexually abused or even raped, they will
be murdered." In "The Horror of Honor Killing: In America
and Around the World," by MeiMei Fox, HufPost, 16 September
2014. Islamic cultures have failed to prevent those "relics
of bourgeois prejudice." So have Communists, as one
looks back to the USSR.
Violence and Rape
Communists of the Soviet Union failed to deliver
on their promise, as one finds an abstract for an APA study
which notes: "A primary indicator of men's oppression of
women in the Soviet Union, as elsewhere in the world, is the
level of male violence against women. In the USSR, crimes
against women, such as domestic violence and rape, are
widespread. To gain a better understanding of rape and
domestic violence in the USSR, consideration is given to (1)
statistics that indicate the severity and magnitude of these
crimes, (2) the cultural and historical context of rape and
battery, (3) the response of the legal system, and (4)
Soviet theories of the causes of rape and domestic
violence." The study is titled "Rape and domestic
violence in the USSR," by Valerie Sperling, in "Response
to the Victimization of Women & Children," Vol. 13(3), 1990.
The bourgeois Western world seems quite akin to a now-famous
failed Communist experiment, and these "bourgeois relics"
seem proven to be gender equal in odd ways. One reads: "University of
New Hampshire researcher Murray Straus calls it “selective
inattention” because of the total emphasis on female
victims, despite what research has shown since 1977.
Straus and his colleagues found that in minor violence, the
incident rates were equal for men and women. In cases of
severe violence, more men were victimized than women, with
1.8 million women victims of severe violence and 2 million
male victims of severe violence a year. Women suffer a
greater amount of total injuries ranging from mild to
serious, but when it comes to serious injuries where weapons
and object use come into play, the injury rate may be about
the same. Hundreds of scientific studies support what
every experienced law-enforcement officer knows: half the
time, it is a case of mutual combat; a quarter of the time
only the woman is violent; a quarter of the time only the
man is. Women strike first in some manner half the time,
which of course, greatly increases her chances of being hurt
in return." In "In Cases of Domestic Violence, Men Are Also
Victims," by Philip W. Cook, Daily Beast, 22 July 2013.
Engels' 1884 "scientific" blather was simply wrong
and wrongheaded. It
remains false today, and yet the ardent and true believers
press forward in their search to mitigate elemental bursts
of jealousy which they saw and see as "relics of bourgeois
prejudice." Whatever "marriage equality" means -- as yet not
finally defined -- will cure societal ills was the old
argument, and it is being trotted out as the new
[ 13 ] Necessary humor has
long vivisected all the seriousness about connubial relations.
Consider an anonymous rhyme: "Say it with flowers / Say
it with eats, / Say it with kisses, / Say it with sweets, /
Say it with jewelry, / Say it with drink, / But always be
careful / Not to say it with ink!" Supremely true, it
Be Careful for a Joke
For those who argue marriage as wholly equivalent with love, one reads another
anonymous rhyme: Love is like an onion / You taste
it with delight, / And when it's gone you wonder / What ever
made you bite." Within weeks after the Supreme Court
fumbled towards same-sex marriage as a right while in a
dissent question foreseeing multiple marriage as the next
immediate issue, the first same-sex divorce was filed. One
can hardly wait to watch the dissolutions as "equality"
stalks the field of candidates and potential candidates as
the word becomes porous, poor us!
Now old jokes can be seen as no longer funny, and it becomes
possible to criticize them for being non-inclusive and
intolerant. "Marriage is a romance is a romance in which
the hero dies in the first chapter" could be a "bromance,"
and the "hero" a "heroine," or perhaps several.
In an earlier time, Henny Youngman (1906-1998) joked, "Take
my wife... Really." How funny is "take my spouse....
Really?" Or perhaps, "I take my wife everywhere, but
she keeps finding her way back." Her? Could be a "him" in
this transgendered world, could it not? Perhaps a "them" in
the parlance of the polygamist?
Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel joked, "President
Obama came out with approval of same-sex marriage. He said
that, over the years, he has been going through an evolution
on the issue. That makes opponents on the far right doubly
angry. They don’t believe in gay marriage or evolution." One
wonders when approval will come for multiple marriages,
given that there is an applauded "evolution on the issue?"
Comic Chris Rock quipped, saying, "Gay people got a right
to be as miserable as everybody else." Perhaps the
polyamory enthusiasts will enjoy being "miserable" too?
Misery loves company, so is it said.
David Cross' joke without much other than contempt for
others with differing views got a laugh, as he noted, "I
really don’t have a problem with gay marriage -- because I’m
tolerant and rational." Others are deemed neither
tolerant nor rational, of course, and that
is officially funny to those for whom "official" is an
important descriptor of what is currently funny or offensive.
Bill Maher quipped, "... for the record, all marriages are
'same sex' marriages. You get married, and every night, it's
the same sex." But with multiple wives, short term mut'a,
and captured slaves with whom a radical may practice 'ibadah,'
certainly the enlightened and funny Maher would not find
For all the silly seasons of post-modern modernity and
sub rosa schemes to abolish the family in favor of the
"ism" of choice, one might review yet more anonymous levity:
"The two genders are masculine and feminine. The
masculines are divided into temperate and intemperate, and
feminines into frigid and torrid." It is assured the
"relics of bourgeois prejudice" will be with mankind for a
very long time, and greeted with horror and laughter alike.
After all, G. B. Shaw noted, "Marriage is popular because it
combines the maximum of temptation with the maximum of
opportunity." An anonymous chimes in in this time: "I'll tell you
straight, it's very queer." But for all those so
passionately involved in arguing and litigating their
version of "marriage equality," one may be sure Oscar
Wilde's quip is telling: "To love oneself is the
beginning of a lifelong romance."
Love Me and We Love Us -- But Not Them
But romance expressed how? "The University of Tennessee is
asking students to use 'ze, hir, hirs, and
xe, xem, xyr.' No, those words are not another language.
These are proposed gender-neutral singular versions of
pronouns. The University of Tennessee Office for Diversity
and Inclusion is asking students and faculty to use the
pronouns in order to create a more inclusive campus.
They say it alleviates a heavy burden for people expressing
different genders or identities." In "UT Knoxville
encourages students to use gender-neutral pronouns," WATE
(ABC Channel 6), Knoxville, 27 August 2015.
Heeding this in terms of Wilde's quip above, the most
obvious and easy gender-neutral pronouns easily yield "I
Trying to take postmodern silliness seriously, one finds the language
of love transcribed on one suggested scheme as "he loves her" becomes "ne loves
ver," while "she loves him" becomes "ve loves nem,"
unless "ne loves nem," while "ve loves ver,"
and for the swarm of alternatives, perhaps, "xe loves xem."
One may address further "inQUEERies" to the
leadership of UT. In another, other pronouns are
Alas for pride at this institution of higher
education, for not noticing that "ze" is "she"
and the plural "they" in Dutch. Thus the pronoun has a
linguistic gender antecedent, and all the pride folks have
done in one suggestion is invert the binary meaning.
If "music be the food of love," the music of UT's "invented pronouns" are
not particularly alluring nor nourishing, though donations
are requested at the site per the usual. Amusingly the "new" language
is not even particularly "new." Apparently post-modern
reaches back into the 18th century.
One finds: "...the female grammarian who introduced this he
business was a feminist if ever there was one. Anne
Fisher (1719-78) was not only a woman of letters but
also a prosperous entrepreneur. She ran a school for young
ladies and operated a printing business and a newspaper in
Newcastle with her husband, Thomas Slack. In short, she was
the last person you would expect to suggest that he should
apply to both sexes. But apparently she couldn’t get her
mind around the idea of using they as a singular." In "All-Purpose
Pronoun," by Patricia T. O'Conner and Stewart Kellerman,
New York Times, 21 July 2009.
Another citation: "...ca. 1850 ne, nis, nim;
hiser, NY Commercial Advertiser, 7 August 1884, 3."
In "The Epicene Pronouns: A Chronology of the Word That
Failed," by Dennis Baron, with citations from "The Epicene
Pronoun: The Word That Failed" American Speech 56 (1981):
83-97 and my book, Grammar and Gender (New Haven and London:
Yale Univ. Press, 1986).
It becomes a greater comedy to note that when UT's Pride
suggestions tell that "he" becomes "ne"
and "she" becomes "ve," as the gender
binaries are retained. Therefore the language game does
nothing to blur gender distinctions. It merely makes new
dictionary entries, as one finds in an English-German dictionary wherein in
"he" is "er" and "she" is "sie," or a French-English
dictionary when "he" is "il" and "she" is "elle." One may
conclude then that the UT diversity language as has been
suggested is demonstrably as sexist as the language it
purports to correct, for its translated gender binary
For those interested in the "comedic" issue of income
inequality, one reads: "Motion: That the President’s
Four-Year Comprehensive Performance Review of Chancellor
Cheek be approved; and that the recommended 10% increase in
Chancellor Cheek’s base salary be approved to bring his
base salary to $434,452.00 (when rounded up to the next
dollar) effective July 1, 2013." In "The University of
Tennessee, Board of Trustees Executive and Compensation
Committee," 19 June 2013. Donna Marie Braquet, head of
the Pride Center and an Assistant Professor in Library and
noted in the database by the non-inclusive gender "F,' earns
a twelve-month salary of $52,445. By way of
comparison, one learns that the median household income,
2009-2013, in Knoxville was $33,595 as compared to
the state of Tennessee of. $44,298. Yearly
tuition there is estimated by some sources at $23,754, in
order that UT students be able to hang
Degrees on the wall
Recently Chancellor Cheek cut funding for UT's "Sex Week." One
reads: "Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek said today the
campus will not be using state tax or tuition dollars to
fund Sex Week. Cheek said that after reviewing the final
agenda for the student-programmed event he determined that
it should not be funded by state tax dollars." In "UT
Announces Changes in State Funding for Sex Week," Karen
Simsen, Tennessee Today, University of Tennessee at
Knoxville, 20 March 2013.
One wonders about campus funding for other university
entities as the issue of "tax or tuition dollars" collides
with tax payers exercising various democratic modes of cultural
complaint. Perhaps a new position could be created as
Doctor Oppression comes to call
to work on the issues surrounding
Back to humor, as if we'd never left it. "Mares eat oats, and lambs eat oats and little lambs eat
ivy; a kid'll eat ivy too -- wouldn't ewe, you sexist! So
toyed Professor Jenny Talia, tickling someone's pro-noun fancies.
Fans seize! Says a joke?" Seize a joke here and there, says a joke
While the immediately above is a small attempt at humor,
what one finds in academia is its own, witty entry. One
reads a warning to students: "...or referring to
women/men as females or males" is found under "Gross
generalizations, stereotypes, and derogatory/oppressive
language are not acceptable," a sub-section of a
syllabus for "WST338: Women & Popular Culture, Washington
State University – Fall 2015, Department of Critical
Culture, Gender, and Race Studies," by Selena Lester Breikss.
Heeding this, how shall one reflect on "F" in the database
of UT for its Pride leader's gender? Is the database
derogatory or offensive? As public figures'
publicly-available salaries are better known to those
curious enough to look, it is assured that such information
can be seen as offensive. Funny, huh?
One notes that binary "women/men" divides humans into two groups,
quite as does "female" and "male," but the one is deemed
"derogatory/oppressive language" referring to "females or
males" while "women/men" according to the syllabus text is
apparently not. Gender binary exists, even if separated
by a grammatical slash. Looking for more about the instructor, one
finds in the Washington State University site in the spring
of 2015, mention of this instructor as "Selena Lester (Ph.D.
student)," in '"Spring 2015 News Review," Washington State
University, 16 June 2015. Apparently "ve" added a name,
perhaps through some wedding shredding. "Bonne chance," says
French, a gender binary language receiving its own
share of complaints for those binaries. "C'est dommage, je
This state-sponsored university's instructor's syllabus
mentions various topics by week: among them, "Women,
Media & Feminism," "Women, Misogyny & Racism," "Women &
Advertising," "Women, Race & Media," "Horror &
Feminine," "Women & Pop Music," "Women & Masculinity," and
"Women & Social Media."
One wonders, if suggesting these
topics focus on "females" is "offensive"
for stereotyping one of two genders.
One could inquire: are women no longer properly "female" in this
prideful, postmodern world? Perhaps the
Supreme Court will ultimately have to decide this as well?
the Farce Be With You
With the University of Tennessee and Washington State
"advice" as to what is acceptable language, one finds suggestions that gender
binaries are somehow bad, all the while the language of
these examples employ them in order to speak about them. There is
great humor in this, as Marx himself may have meant when
he observed, things come back as "a farce."
And so, in the name of the coming state of greater
confusion between one-ists, two-ists, three-ists and more,
thing-ists and rapists too, one could use a formatted ceremony: "Do
-- insert a gender neutral pronoun or pronouns, state your
gender neutral name or names -- take this -- select from
person/persons/animal/thing, state a gender neutral name or
names, even if your own name or names -- to be your awfully
wedded -- select from person/persons/animal/thing. According
to the laws of the moment and the magic number -- insert a
number of your choice --, and by the authority
invested in me, I now pronounce -- insert an
all-purpose genderless noun -- and -- insert an all-purpose
genderless noun, and repeat as necessary. You may kiss the --
insert a genderless proper noun denoting
Ah, men. Ah, women. Ah building bridges to get your goat's
computer, as the rape of the language continues, until the
abolition of meaning is completed. The humorously "awfully
wedded" above is borrowed from Dylan Thomas' Under Milk
In this manner one would guard against "wrong datum" being
spoken into the greater culture of inclusiveness which so
easily "discludes" those officially rejected. For
any violations, call for the language police, who as above
do not agree each with the other. By some count today, the
alternative "suggested" pronouns now number over one
hundred, What the Dickens is up with that? The assault on
language has become a silly season, for the gender-phobic of
For a survey on the post-modern Gordian knots tying many up
of today's ardent activists
in the pursuit of a sexless, sex-crazed language fleshed out this
cultural adventure, see:
- a eunuch's cluck.
[ 14 ] Supremely
written, "These new insights have strengthened, not
weakened, the institution." So begins the majority decision voted
on in a 5-4 decision.
And yet one finds: "For better or
for worse, marriage today isn't what it used to be.
According to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census
Bureau data, just over half (51 percent) of American
adults were married in 2011; in 1960, 72 percent had rings
on their fingers. It's also no longer for the young: In
1995, 59 percent of women were married by age 25, while
between 2006 and 2010 only 44 percent in that age group had
ever said "I do," according to the National Center for
Health Statistics (NCHS). In 2010, the median age for first
marriage was 25.8 for women and 28.3 for men — a steady rise
since 1960, when the median age for both men and women was
in the early 20s." In "The changing face — and age — of
marriage," by Anna Miller, American Psychological
Association, April 2013, Vol. 44, No. 4.
Is the APA disagreeing with the majority argument of Obergefell v. Hodges?
One finds the "strengthened" institution is also not "what
it used to be."
Strengthened Institution Isn't Strong
As to the odds, one reads: "According
to the latest national data from the National Center for
Health Statistics (NCHS), the likelihood that a couple will
celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary today isn't much
greater than a coin toss: 52 percent for women and 56
percent for men. Although the rate of divorce has
declined slowly and steadily since the early 1980s, the rate
of marriage has diminished rapidly, with more people
choosing to marry later in life (see The changing face - and
age - of marriage). As a result, experts routinely
estimate that between 40 percent and 50 percent of marriages
today will end in divorce." In "Can this marriage be
saved?" by Anna Miller, American Psychological Association,
April 2013, Vol. 44, No.4.
Cited elsewhere among these footnoted rhymes, one reads:
"The Census Bureau reported Thursday that the nation’s
marriage rate is the lowest since 1920, and the first-time
inclusion of same sex married couples did little to reverse
the decline. According to Pew Research Center analysis, the
marriage rate of Americans 18 and older hit a bottom of 50.3
percent in 2013, down from 50.5 percent in 2012. In 1920,
the first year mentioned, 65 percent were married, and the
marriage rate hit a high of 72.2 percent in 1960." In
"Census: Marriage rate at 93-year low, even including
same-sex couples," by Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner,
18 September 2014.
The first same-sex divorces have already been filed only a
month after the Supreme Court decision affirming that "new
insights" have "strengthened, not weakened, the
institution." Is this institution viewed by the broader
survey above now of one, two, three or more, perhaps many
more, between human and human, human and non-human, lasting
minutes or a lifetime, involved with loving relationships
and rape, and requiring new pronouns alongside the new
license lingo? Ah, the strengthening "decline" of it all for
all "these new insights."
Loved by some and hated by others politically, Justice
Scalia dissented from the majority, observing: "These cases
ask us to decide whether the Fourteenth Amendment contains a
limitation that requires the States to license and recognize
marriages between two people of the same sex. Does it
remove that issue from the political process? Of course not."
Given the ensuing litigation for multiple marriages, he was
correct in a way the Supreme decision did not foresee. The
larger issue is not removed from "the political process."
Later, that dissent noted: "A system of government that
makes the People subordinate to a committee of nine
unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy."
Both the political
Left and Right
have made that claim, so it must be true.
Consider some observations in rhyme:
Democracy is radical
Democracy is stupid
for supremely democracy can be both stupid and radical, as any number of close
decisions have shown throughout the ages.
[ 15 ] The assertion
of "social order" is interesting, for there was a social
order during the period before the same-sex decision such as
was asserted in the now defunct Defense of Marriage Act.
The Defense of Marriage Act was passed in 1996 by Congress
and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. In that time,
he wrote: "I have long opposed governmental
recognition of same-gender marriages and this legislation is
consistent with that position. The Act confirms the right of
each state to determine its own policy with respect to same
gender marriage and clarifies for purposes of federal law
the operative meaning of the terms 'marriage' and 'spouse'."
In Clinton's "President's statement on DOMA," 20 September
Years later, he wrote: "When I signed the bill, I
included a statement with the admonition that 'enactment of
this legislation should not, despite the fierce and at times
divisive rhetoric surrounding it, be understood to provide
an excuse for discrimination.' Reading those words today,
know now that, even worse than providing an excuse for
discrimination, the law is itself discriminatory. It
should be overturned." In "It’s time to overturn DOMA," by
Bill Clinton, Washington Post, 7 March 2013.
One is tempted to recall another quote: "It depends
upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is. If 'is' means
'is and never has been' that's one thing - if it means
'there is none', that was a completely true statement." Bill
Clinton, 17 August 1998.
"...the law is itself discriminatory."
One might add, the Law is itself discriminatory, in spite of
the 14th amendment argument that it has been made
non-discriminatory. Validating that "magic number two"
discriminates against three and more as they self identify.
In 2013 the Supreme Court struck down a provision of the
Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, in another 5-to-4 majority
of the Supreme Court.
Kops and Harmed Individuals
By Kennedy asserting that marriage is "a keystone of the
Nation’s social order," the majority decision decides what
that social is, and therefore the previous must have been
"disorder." What is certain with the filing of a polygamous
family in Montana directly following this decision about
"social order" is that one individual's social order is not
another individual's social order.
Moreover Kennedy wrote
for the majority of five against a minority of four, "There
may be an initial inclination to await further legislation,
litigation, and debate, but referenda, legislative debates,
and grassroots campaigns; studies and other writings; and
extensive litigation in state and federal courts have led to
an enhanced understanding of the issue. While the
Constitution contemplates that democracy is the appropriate
process for change, individuals who are harmed need not
await legislative action before asserting a fundamental
right." With this simple admission, the majority
decision stands against "further legislation, litigation,
and debate" and more, in favor of the majority of five's
view of the nation's "social order."
Surprise! The "magic number two" given us by the New
York Times' reporting is not the end of debate nor of t he
litigation. Whatever one's stance as to who defines the
legal term of marriage, it is now defined by Kennedy and
four other justices as a "social order" of any "two," but by
that decision also not a "social order" of less than two or
more than two.
Voilà. Discrimination, yet again.
Those next individuals "harmed," in Kennedy's seemingly
sensible decision, also will not want to wait for
"legislative action before asserting a fundamental right."
Kennedy has stumbled on his own reasoning, it is assured,
and the "social order" of the nation is not bettered for it
because the "debate and litigation" have not ended with this
"fundamental" decision, for one simple reason to difficult
for law and lawyers solve.
Considering Justice Kennedy's "keystone" assertion, one
finds that this "keystone of the Nation's social order" is
withering away. One reads: "The U.S. marriage
rate—the number of new marriages per 1,000 people—has been
falling for decades. It fell especially fast during the
recession, in 2008 and 2009, but there’s little evidence
that people started getting married again even as the
economy recovered. And research firm IbisWorld predicts
the marriage rate will keep falling over the next five
years." In "Why You’re Being Invited to Fewer Weddings," by
Ben Steverman, Bloomberg, 28 July 2017.
Based on simple, demographic data then, Justice Kennedy
might as well have stated factually that the "Nation's
social order" has been "falling for decades." His opinion is
therefore little more than wishful thinking.
Too many words in this Wedding Shredding remain undefined
and others under-defined, and the "supreme" rationale for
same-sex but only limited to two partners is not legally
defined either. Thus the decision was not comprehensive, and
likely cannot be a long-lived definition of "social order."
The next chapters are already being written. 1996 to 2013
was a short time in the life of a nation, and 2013 to 2015
even shorter. After all, if DOMA was discriminatory to
same-sex marriage, the Obergefell v. Hodges decision is
discriminatory to polygamous families.
A potential group which could argue discrimination based on
Kennedy's unplanned and the New York Times' aptly phrased
"magic number two" are the polyamorous. One reads: "
Researchers have estimated that 4 to 5% of Americans
practice some form of consensual non-monogamy. A 2014 blog
post by Psychology Today revealed that 9.8 million people
have agreed to allow satellite lovers in their
relationships, which includes poly couples, swinging couples
and others practicing sexual non-monogamy. And in Portland –
home to swingers’ clubs, the most strip bars per capita, and
annual porn festivals – it seems you can’t throw a stone
without finding a poly relationship." In "Polyamorous in
Portland: the city making open relationships easy," by
Melanie Sevcenko, Guardian UK, 19 July 2016.
The Guardian article cited just above further notes of
a throuple: "All three are in a 'V' dynamic, with
Jeffry as the pivot person. Gaile and Tamela are not
romantically or sexually involved; they refer to each other
as a metamour – the partner of one’s partner – which is
similar to a family bond."
discrimination. The magic number two based on Kennedy's
citation of "love" and of a "keystone of the Nation's social
order" is discrimination, because the polyamorous also cite
"love" and would easily argue they are also part of the
nation's social order.
Therefore in the words of Justice Kennedy, "individuals who
are harmed need not await legislative action before
asserting a fundamental right" to polygamous marriage, for the logic is
the same, written in words of a Supreme Court decision.
Marriage remains generally undefined, and part of an
amorphous and now changing "social order" as well in which the
Supreme Court has taken upon itself the right to define words
it has as yet not defined in print. A fundamental right
is reserved to "two" as "a keystone of the
Nation’s social order?" Why two?
It will prove amusing for "justices" to contend with their
own discriminatory two-ness, or further amend the "keystone
of a nation's social order" to being any number so desired
by a couple-throuple-multiple. Love as a legal concept,
that recurring tale when
Nemesis met Hubris
While Justice Kennedy tramped his way through
non-Constitutional notions such as love and family, one
finds a parallel in Britain, as one reads: "The
marriage statistics show that more and more people simply
aren’t bothering to make any sort of legal commitment at all
before setting up home and starting a family. As Lady
Justice Hale, now tipped to be boss of the Supreme Court,
said in 1982: 'Family law now makes no attempt to
buttress the stability of marriage or any other union,'
adding 'the piecemeal erosion of the distinction between
marriage and non-marital cohabitation may be expected to
continue.' And how." In "A fight for equality? No, it's
a plot to wipe out marriage," by Peter Hitchens, The Mail on
Sunday, 26 February 2017.
From then until this post-Obergefell v. Hodges era, the
"liberal" pretense that the word "marriage" has some defined
legal or even ethical definition in society worldwide -- as
demonstrated by the many sourced views and opinions above --
is nonsense. This moment has brought Western society to a
stuttering cacophony of competing and mutually incompatible
stances. All in the name of whatever equality in the mouths
of so many who cannot agree on a definition of the term.
Blah, blah, blah, and all very "supreme" and "courtly."
Constellation of Benefits from the Constellation of Divorce
The "assertion" becomes a "constellation of benefits" in the
hands of a less supreme Supreme Court, within the context of
Justice Kennedy's "new insights" which he asserted "have
strengthened" marriage, is heard in a divorce. One reads:
"The Arizona Supreme Court says a lesbian woman who is
divorcing her spouse is entitled to parental rights under
the U.S. Constitution even though a state law doesn't
recognize those rights. Tuesday's ruling says U.S.
Supreme Court precedent requires same-sex couples be
afforded the same 'constellation of benefits' as straight
couples." In "Arizona Supreme Court rules both spouses
in same-sex marriages have parental rights," by Bob Christie
, KPNX Channel 12, 19 September 2017.
It is become a supreme irony that Kennedy's "strengthening"
assertion participates in a weakening, as the words fumble
and fall into confusion alongside the jumble of marriage on
[ 16 ] There is a supreme
irony in this, because whatever else the Obergefell v.
Hodges decision is, it is an assertion that "marriage" is
determined at the federal level as a constitutional right.
Given the federal grasp and definition -- ongoing, based on
other litigation and the surrounding politics thereto -- of
what constitutes "marriage," now what constitutes the
contractual breaking of the marriage must now logically be
also a federal concern.
It should become a license for amusement aplenty in the
coming years. Perhaps now a Supreme Court decision needs to
define "love," for this is cited as the basis for marriage
by so many in the arguments leading to a historic 5-4 vote
defining "marriage." After all, love became a
hinge on which Justice Kennedy hung his majority decision.
Liberty with a Ball and Chain
From that decision, one reads: "The Constitution
promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that
includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within
a lawful realm, to define and express their identity. The
petitioners in these cases seek to find that
liberty by marrying someone of the same sex and having their
marriages deemed lawful on the same terms and conditions as
marriages between persons of the opposite sex."
The decision then blithely mentions what the New York Times
termed the "magic number two." It comes therefore that the
five justices who signed on to this decision should explain
why "two" is the limitation on "having their marriages
deemed lawful on the same terms and conditions."
This becomes all the clearer when one finds in the same
decision: "No union is more profound than marriage,
for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity,
devotion, sacrifice, and family." The same assertion
holds true for the "union" of three and more, as is being
argued per the above assembled quotes.
If "the Constitution
promises liberty to all within its reach," then "persons,
within a lawful realm" who number more than two might well
"define and express their identity." No rationale for
limiting the decision to two was included, and therefore the
decision is not wholly clear on the matter of number, as the
New York Times correctly notices. Whatever the final outcome
of a federal definition of "marriage" as "it is so ordered"
by the decision, the problem of "marriage" is not solved,
because marriage as a right "within a lawful realm" includes
divorce -- the dissolution of said marriage -- within the
same lawful realm. What then is the constitutional right and
fundamental federal jurisdiction to define "divorce?"
A dissenting opinion says of the majority argument, it
"describes the transcendent importance” of marriage and
repeatedly insists that petitioners do not seek to 'demean,'
'devalue,' 'denigrate,' or 'disrespect' the institution."
Divorce does that, and divorce law is law too.
The "transcendent importance" of marriage being disrespected
has broken new, same-sex ground. Within a month of the new
"social order" ordered by the Supreme Court, the new order
unraveled for its first time. One reads: "Two New
Orleans residents, Anna Wellman and Stephanie Baus, who were
married in Massachusetts in 2009, divorced in Orleans Parish
Civil District Court on Friday, two hours before the first
legally sanctioned same-sex wedding." In "First gay
divorce comes before first gay marriage in New Orleans," by
Christopher Hooton, Independent UK, 1 July 2015.
Transcendent importance became temporary importance. Perhaps
it's not as important as the soaring poetry of Kennedy's
majority of five's "highest ideals of love, fidelity,
devotion, sacrifice, and family" -- including divorce. Isn't
The simple fact is that the Kennedy-written majority
decision is simply strong-arm, undemocratic politics,
masquerading as if it is not. One reads an opinion noting
this: "Entirely apart from the question of
same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court should act quickly to
reverse course and restore the Glucksberg standard for
finding new fundamental rights. As Justice Kennedy himself
noted in Schuette v. Coalation to Defend Affirmative Action,
the sensitive, important, or contentious nature of some
policy questions 'does not justify removing certain
court-determined issues from the voters’ reach.' 'Democracy
does not presume that some subjects are either too divisive
or too profound for public debate.' The default rule in a
democracy ought to be that the people, and not the courts,
get to decide." In "Obergefell’s Toxic Judicial Legacy,"
by Howard Slugh, National Review, 10 April 2017.
The politics remains in play at a federal level now, and
will not disappear from the dockets of court rooms. What
marriage was is shredded in favor of a new and likely
transitory step. That too is being challenged, sure to
further shred the meaning for now that meaning per the
Kennedy majority decision has become about further evolution
on the notions of liberty, as well as those "highest ideals
of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family," and of
course the dissolution of all of those "highest ideals" by
the Joke Goes
As the joke goes, "Marriage is not a word; it is a
sentence." It is now a decision of many paragraphs, five in
favor and four opposed. One watch for the next installment in
this continuing set of cliffhangers. After all, a decision
and a sentence can both be overturned.
As to jurisprudence, the jury's out for prudence.
The next lawsuits are already in process. It will prove to
be profitable for the few, as one reads: "Attorneys
who brought the Ohio lawsuit that led to a Supreme Court
decision legalizing same-sex marriage want a judge to
approve their request for more than $1 million in legal fees
and expenses from the state. The attorneys say the request
is reasonable because of the difficulty of the case and the
importance of the issue. They also argued in a filing Friday
for a court-ordered 50 percent enhancement of their $1.1
million request." In "Attorneys seek $1.1 million-plus in
gay marriage legal fees," Associated Press, 12 September
The public must be made to pay and pay again.
In " 'When I read Justice Kennedy’s decision,
I wanted to embroider it on a pillow but wondered if it was
a sound legal opinion,' openly gay conservative columnist
Guy Benson said at the Conservative Political Action
Conference. Benson spoke on a panel which, primarily,
focused on the SCOTUS decision. 'This conversation could not
be held at a left-wing conference,' he claimed, noting that
the Left demands more unanimity of thought, and action, on
this issue than does the Right. 'One of the most potent
arguments that proponents of same sex marriage had was that
it would not affect those who disagree with them but that
argument went by the wayside when the political objective
was achieved, when it became, 'agree with us or else,'
ruining businesses, for example,' Benson said. 'I part
company with that.' He calls it 'cultural cronyism'." In
"Gay Marriage on the Rocks," by Malcolm A. Kline, Academia,
8 March 2016.
[ 17 ] Whether
cultural cronyism or not, people and businesses are being
sued over the issues surrounding gay marriage, all the while
the survey of varying views of marriage as seen in these
addenda and footnotes demonstrates with sourced reports that
"gay marriage" or "same sex marriage" no longer has the
cultural value that it was supposed to have had.
Rather it has become just another flavor in the goulash of
whatever marriage is now, from one married to one's self, to
multiple partners to inanimate objects and more, the
Pandora's box has been tipped open and what has spilled from
its interior is not what the opinion of Justice Kennedy
stated. "These new insights have strengthened, not weakened, the
Perchance it is become all poppycock. from Pollyanna to
polyandry, all tied up with legalese and meaning less and
less as time goes by.
[ 18 ] The strange
nomenclature in the summary of a pope's waffling about
marriage is itself an amusement. From the number up
from "one" to some sort of "magic power in the number two,"
as questioned Baude in the New York Times, one now formally
may add the other logical condition, the null state. The
null marriage might be no marriage, while the non-marriage
might be a marriage, and this clarity out of the mouth of a
Another opinion is read: "On June 16, at a question
and answer session during a conference in Rome, Pope
Francis implied that those living in 'faithful' cohabitation
can have 'the grace of real marriage because of their
fidelity.' Contrary to Francis’ claim, however, cohabitation
can never carry within it the grace of real marriage,
because it is the grave of real marriage." In "Francis
Claims Those Who Cohabitate Can Have the 'Grace of a Real
Marriage', The Martini Legacy Continues," by John Vennari,
Catholic Family News, 19 June 2016.
In short order the Italian Civil Code shreds the notion of
fidelity. One reads: "The proposed amendment to
Italy's Civil Code would remove the word 'fidelity' from
Italian marriage contracts. The promise not to cheat is a
'cultural legacy from an outdated and obsolete vision of
marriage, family, and the rights and duties of spouses',
according to the senators who have signed the bill." In
"Soon, married Italians might not have to promise to be
faithful," TheLocal.it, 15 December 2016.
One reaches the delightful end of the road for this supreme
-- and Supreme -- fumble, as taken all together the various
definitions of marriage come to one end: it is a word
without any one clear-cut definition. It is a legal entity
and religious statement which includes zero to any number of
people depending purely on which individual defines the
word, and none have definitively defined it, even in law.
The world has no idea what marriage is with no agreement on
the definition of the word, and the wedding
shredding is complete. Infidelity may now be part of
marriage, so what does marriage mean?
to You, and That's the Truth
One might think on a century old play: "Right You
Are (If You Think So) (Italian: Così è (se vi pare) [koˈzi
ˈɛ sse (v)vi ˈpaːre], also translated as It Is So, (If You
Think So)) is an Italian drama by Luigi Pirandello. The play
is based on Pirandello's novel La signora Frola e il signor
Ponza, suo genero. It premiered 18 June 1917 in Milan.
The theme is conflicting versions of the truth told by the
main characters, each of whom claims the other is insane."
In "Right You Are (if you think so)," Wikipedia article, n.
The marriage arguments taken as a survey of human thought
demonstrate Pirandello's title. Right you are, if you think
so. This allows the logical corollary, Wrong is someone
else, if you think they are.
One may read the last lines of the play for instruction into
the many braying jackasses of pompous justice who have
offered their conflicting views on how marriage should be
defined in law as in theology.
"Laudisi: 'And there, my friends, you have the truth!'
(With a look of derisive defiance at them all): 'Are you
satisfied?' He bursts out laughing."
So should someone laugh? The assumption of a worldwide
debate is merely the identification of a worldwide inability
to agree on a definition which Justice Kennedy argued was
foundational for society. As a building has foundations....
"Carol says she has 'sex' with the building mentally and
identifies herself as an objectum sexual - a person who is
sexually attracted to inanimate objects and structures.
Carol didn't discover this until she was 40 after she
searched online 'I am in love with a building.' It is a
worldwide debate whether the phenomenon is a sexuality,
fetish or mental condition." In "Woman 'marries' train
station she's loved for 36 years and ,has sex with
mentally'," by Candice Fernandez, Mirror UK, 25 May 2017.
Wedding shredding is complete, for such is this modern age
in which nothing means anything, and everything means
something to fight about, because "Right you are, if you
think so." And then one "bursts out laughing."
The simple answer to this modern, postmodern conundrum lies
waiting patiently for discovery....
[ 19 ] This piece of
delicious irony is now that "marriage" -- once a social
construct to identify parents in part for the purpose of
inheritance and therefore linked to male-female sexual
relations with the end of a next generation -- is become a
social construct for the purpose of avoiding inheritance
taxation by government. The postmodern attack on marriage by
the use of government comes now full circle -- such that
governments' confiscation of wealth is the end.
Bold bad beard
Bold bad beard was an angry old grump,
And an angry
old grump was he;
He called for a death, and he called for it loud
And he called for it mercilessly.
Every killer? He has his reason,
And a very fine season, you see;
Oh what a human game, they all
With bad beard's murderous spree.
Addendum of the Model:
" 'Old King Cole' is a British nursery rhyme most likely
deriving from ancient Welsh. The historical identity
of King Cole has been much debated and several candidates
have been advanced as possibilities." In "Old King Cole," Wikipedia,
Addendum of a Possibility:
"The Satanic Verses controversy, also known as
the Rushdie Affair, was the heated and frequently violent reaction
of Muslims to the publication of Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic
Verses, which was first published in the United Kingdom in 1988.
Many Muslims accused Rushdie of blasphemy or unbelief and in 1989
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran issued
a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie. Numerous killings,
attempted killings, and bombings resulted from Muslim anger over the
novel." In "The Satanic Verses controversy," Wikipedia, n. d.
[ 1 ]
Addendum of Another Possibility:
"The latest Arab Israeli war presents a conundrum
for many Sunni Jihadists. On the one hand, a chance to join in the
resistance against the Jewish state presents a rare opportunity for
zealots who revere the Palestinian Arab martyrs that have sacrificed
their lives to kill Jewish civilians. But the main group doing the
fighting, and instigating the war this time in Lebanon, are supported by
the same Shiite state that supplies and funds the militias killing Sunni
civilians in Iraq. 'I think that fatwas like Jebreen's are significant,
the division between Sunnis and Shia is more apparent than in the
[ 2 ]
the director of the SITE Institute, a group
that tracks the online Jihad community, Rita Katz, said yesterday. Mr.
Jebreen retired two years ago from Saudi Arabia's government committee
approving fatwas. Ms. Katz says he is considered one of the most
respected and more mainstream Wahhabi clerics in Saudi Arabia." In "L
eading Saudi Sheik Pronounces Fatwa Against Hezbollah," by Eli Lake,
The Sun (NY), 20 July 2006.
Addendum of Yet Another
"A recent fatwa issued by Iran’s supreme leader
banning insults to Prophet Muhammad’s wife Aisha will not help ease
tensions with the Islamic Republic's Sunni-Arab neighbors, experts say.
Mohamed Megahed al- Zayat, vice-director of the National Center for
Middle East Studies, argues that the fatwa is politically motivated and
will therefore fail to elicit a positive response from the region's
Sunni-Arab masses. 'It's not a general fatwa for everybody-- it's not
aimed at the Iranians themselves,' he said. 'It targets the Arabs'."
In "Experts: Iran fatwa on Prophet's wife will not bridge Sunni-Shia
divide," by Ahmed Zaki Osman, Egypt Independent, 10 April 2010.
Addendum of Still Another
describes Israel as 'a cancerous tumor' whose elimination would mean
that 'the West's hegemony and threats will be discredited' in the Middle
East. In its place, he boasts, 'the hegemony of Iran will be promoted.'
Khamenei’s book also deals with the Holocaust which he regards either as
'a propaganda ploy' or a disputed claim. 'If there was such a
thing,' he writes, 'we don’t know why it happened and how.' This is what
Iran's leaders are preaching to their people and their allies in the
Middle East." In "Iran publishes book on how to outwit US and destroy
Israel," by Amir Taheri, NYPost, 1 August 2015.
Addendum of More
Possibilities: "...it was incumbent on all
Muslims to try to keep inter Muslim unity and no dispute between
different Islamic sects should be allowed to harm the unity of Islamic
ummah. Tayyib also noted that Egypt has ever been at the forefront of
every initiative for Muslim unity. Western media have kept mum on the
Fatwa." In "Unity Between Shia and Sunni on Imam Khamenei's Fatwa,"
Rohama, 3 October 2010.
[ 3 ]
Addendum of Proliferating
"The proliferation of fatwa websites in Saudi
Arabia has been criticized by King Abdullah and senior Saudi
clerics, who have sought to regulate such activities. The king and the
religious authorities warn that many are
directed by self-designated Islamic jurists without credentials, and
announce their opinions on whim and a desire for publicity.
Unlike Christianity, Islam – except for Wahhabism – does not encourage
free-lance preaching by unschooled, 'inspired' individuals
usurping clerical titles. Even the Deobandis stress a rigorous
Islamic education, however deviant their beliefs." In "Fatwa Fanatics –
The Deobandi-Wahhabi Lust for Control Over Personal Life," by Stephen
Schwartz and Irfan Al-Alawi, Millat Times [India], 11 March 2013.
Addendum of a Declaration of
War: " 'What is happening to our brothers on
Syrian soil, in terms of violence stemming from the Iranian regime,
Hezbollah and its sectarian allies, counts as a declaration of war
on Islam and the Muslim community in general,' Hassan said." In "Sunni
clerics issue fatwa calling for all forms of Jihad in Syria," Middle
East Online, 13 June 2013.
Addendum of a Call to Arms:
"Iraq's most senior Shia cleric has issued a call
to arms after Sunni-led insurgents seized more towns. The call by a
representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani came as the militants
widened their grip in the north and east, and threatened to march south,
towards Baghdad." In "Iraq conflict: Shia cleric Sistani issues call to
arms," BBC, 13 June 2014.
[ 5 ]
Addendum of Fences against
"As they confront the rising threat of modern jihadist
violence, many of the nations most at risk are retreating behind one
of the oldest forms of defense.
Tunisia and Turkey are the latest to invest in border
barriers, both announcing the plans in the immediate aftermath of
attacks on civilian targets. A fence and watchtowers will guard
Tunisia’s border with Libya, where the militants who killed foreign
tourists on a Tunisian beach are said to have been trained. Turkey said
late Wednesday it will fortify the border with Syria after a suicide
bomb in a nearby town.
From Morocco to Saudi Arabia, boundaries are being fortified at a
rate not seen since the months following the Sept. 11 attacks." In
"Fences Rise Across Middle East as Jihadi Threat Escalates," by Salma El
Wardany and Caroline Alexander, Bloomberg, 22 July 2015.
[ 6 ]
Addendum of the Fatwa Against
Chess: "A fatwa issued by Saudi Arabia's top
cleric prohibiting chess in Islam and equating it with gambling has
caused a stir on social media. In a video of a television programme
posted online, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh appears
categorical when asked about the board game in Islam. 'Chess is
prohibited. It is gambling,' said Sheikh, insisting that it was a 'waste
of time and money and a cause for animosity between players'."
In "Saudi fatwa banning chess stirs online outcry," Agence France Presse,
22 January 2016.
Saudi side of the Saudi Arabian border with Iraq
"Iran's supreme leader tweeted a graphic Saturday that
appears to depict President Obama holding a gun to his head as Britain
relaxed its travel advice to the nation, citing decreased hostility
under the Iranian government. 'US president has said he could knock out
Iran’s military. We welcome no war, nor do we initiate any war, but..'
reads the caption above the tweet sent by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on
@khamenei_ir, his English language account." In "Iranian leader
tweets graphic of Obama with gun to head," by Katharine Lackey, USA
Today, 25 July 2015.
Addendum of the Bitter Truth:
"The undated document, titled 'A Brief History of the
Islamic State Caliphate (ISC),
The Caliphate According to the Prophet,' seeks to unite dozens of
factions of the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban into a single army of
terror. It includes a never-before-seen history of the Islamic
State, details chilling future battle plans, urges al-Qaeda to join the
group and says the Islamic State's leader should be recognized as the
sole ruler of the world’s 1 billion Muslims under a religious empire
called a 'caliphate.' 'Accept the fact that this caliphate will survive
and prosper until it takes over the entire world and beheads every last
person that rebels against Allah,' it proclaims.
'This is the bitter truth, swallow it'." In "Islamic State
recruitment document seeks to provoke 'end of the world'," by Sara A.
Carter, American Media Institute via USA Today, 28 July 2015.
[ 7 ]
Addendum of Beard against
Beard: "Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian
doctor who replaced Osama bin Laden as the head of al Qaeda four years
ago, in a new audio message accused ISIS top leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
of 'sedition' and insisted the Iraqi terrorist recluse was not the
leader of all Muslims and militant jihad as 'caliph' of the Islamic
State, as al-Baghdadi had claimed 14 months ago in a Mosul mosque." In
"Al Qaeda Leader Al-Zawahiri Declares War on ISIS 'Caliph'
Al-Baghdadi," by James Gordon Meek, ABC News, 10 September 2015.
[ 8 ]
Addendum of Saudi Beard
against ISIS Beard: "Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul
Aziz has claimed that the Islamic State (Daesh) militants are Israeli
soldiers and the Saudi-led 34-nation military alliance of Islamic
countries will defeat it. The statement came after Abu Bakr al
Baghdadi, the secretive leader of the terror group, called for an
uprising in Saudi Arabia and pledged to attack Israel, in an audio
recording released Saturday and attributed to him, AFP reported." In "IS
militants are Israeli soldiers: Saudi grand mufti," by News Desk,
Express Tribune (Pakistan), 28 December 2015.
[ 1 ]
The translation of the fatwa: "We are
from Allah and to Allah we shall return. I am informing all
brave Muslims of the world that the author of The Satanic
Verses, a text written, edited, and published against Islam,
the Prophet of Islam, and the Qur'an, along with all the
editors and publishers aware of its contents, are
condemned to death. I call on all valiant Muslims
wherever they may be in the world to kill them without
delay, so that no one will dare insult the sacred beliefs of
Muslims henceforth. And whoever is killed in this cause will
be a martyr, Allah Willing. Meanwhile if someone has access
to the author of the book but is incapable of carrying out
the execution, he should inform the people so that [Rushdie]
is punished for his actions. Rouhollah al-Mousavi
One reads that oddly Khoumeini assisted enormously in the
marketing, sales and popularity of the book:
"Although British bookseller W.H. Smith sold 'a mere hundred
copies a week of the book in mid-January 1989', it 'flew
off the shelves' following the fatwa. In America it sold
an 'unprecedented' five times more copies than the number
two book, Star by Danielle Steel, selling more than
750,000 copies of the book by May 1989. B. Dalton, a
bookstore chain that decided not to stock the book for
security reasons, changed its mind when it found the book
selling so fast that even as we tried to stop it, it was
flying off the shelves'. Rushdie earned about $2 million
within the first year of the book's publication, and
the book is Viking's all-time best seller."
Among the deaths of various translators at the hands of
supposedly "brave Muslims," one finds Khomeini's own son
added to the tally of deaths connected with this imam.
One reads: "...as the regime and the opposition
both fight to be Khomeini’s rightful inheritors, the real
deciders are Khomeini’s own family members--often referred
to as Beit-e-Imam. In Shi’ite tradition, these relatives are
considered the guardians and true interpreters of an imam’s
thoughts. And in Khomeini’s case, surprisingly, they are
disproportionately supporting Mousavi and the opposition.
Khomeini’s son Ahmad was a strong critic of the Iranian
regime after his father’s death. Six years after Khamenei
became supreme leader, Ahmad made a blunt speech expressing
his views; a month later, he passed away suspiciously at age
49." In "Khamenei vs. Khomeini," by Ali Reza Eshraghi,
New Republic, 20 August 2009. So the "founder" of the
Iranian regime had family opposing the Iranian regime, for
such seems the politics of religion, as the religion of
Khomeini (d. 1989) and his son (d. 2009) are gone, while the
fatwa which has not been canceled against Rushdie has not
resulted as of the summer of 2015 in Rushdie's murder by
"all brave Muslims." Apparently Khomeini did not speak for
"all brave Muslims" as history's years continue this
lingering tale of murder ordered and not yet carried out.
But that single fatwa became
a marketing triumph for booksellers, quite the
opposite of the intention. Consider the equal-and-opposite
Oh, what a tangled web we weave
And so one reads an opinion in 2015: " 'Extremism
constitutes an attack against the Western world as much as
against Muslims themselves,' Rushdie told L'Express.
'Keeping silent does not help Muslims.... Fighting
extremism is not fighting Islam. To the contrary, it defends
it'." In "Salman Rushdie Says 'Wrong Lessons' Learned
from His Iran Fatwa Ordeal," Agence France-Presse, 22 July
The counterpoint of 2015 to the dead "eternal" leader of the
new Iranian state is: this: "Rushdie, 68, has lived
since 2000 in the United States and was knighted in Britain
For another insight into Khomeini's interesting legal views
on some forms of sexuality, see:
Another Iranian cleric, less the celebrity than Khomeini was
known to criticize the Iranian government, as did Khomeini's
son: "Tens of thousands of anti-regime protestors
marched through the streets of Iran's holy city of Qom on
Monday. They had gathered for the funeral procession of
Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, the most senior of
the regime's critics, who had died in his sleep Sunday at
the age of 87. The event reportedly turned into the largest
civil protest since those that followed the contested
re-election in June of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which
left an unknown number of protestors dead. In Monday's
protestors chanted 'death to the dictator' and carried
slogans voicing their support for the opposition leaders to
whom Montazeri had given his support." In " Iran's
Regime 'Has Every Reason to Be Worried'," by Josh Ward,
Spiegel, 22 December 2009.
Spiegel cites another German source as regards the
theocratic domination of Iran today: "Today, Ali
Khamenei rules like a dictator. Montazeri was what we
in the West hope for in a public intellectual." From the
Iranian revolution to today's Iranian government, one finds
that politics, as usual, brings in the
That is what this has all been about, control over others
and control over wealth. So the Shah, toppled in the
revolution, was a dictator, and fast forward through some
decades, "like a dictator" remains the theme.
Such a dictatorship through its state-run entities renews
the fatwa, showing that a national threat against a citizen
of another country is the behavior of this nation. One
reads: "Forty state-run Iranian media outlets have jointly
offered a new $600,000 bounty for the death of British
Indian author Salman Rushdie, according to the state-run
Fars News Agency." In "Salman Rushdie: Iranian state media
renew fatwa on Satanic Verses author with $600,000 bounty,"
by Samuel Osborne, Independent UK, 21 February 2016.
Were all the nations and cultures of this world to emulate
the Iranian "renewal," it is assured that those who make
such demands will run and hide, claiming it "unfair."
As a related policy, Iran is apparently offering rewards for
other forms of attack. One reads: "Speaking at a
press conference in Beirut on Wednesday, with the
participation of several leaders of Palestinian factions,
Iranian ambassador to Lebanon, Mohammad Fathali, said:
'Continuing Iran's support for the oppressed Palestinian
people, Iran announces the provision of financial aid to
families of Palestinian martyrs who were killed in the
'Jerusalem intifada.' According to the ambassador, every
family of a martyr will receive $7,000, while a family whose
home was demolished by the IDF will receive $30,000. The aid
will be conveyed through the Palestinian branch of the
Shahid Institution, which was established in Iran in 1992'."
In "Iran offers financial reward for families of
potential Palestinian 'intifada martyrs'," by Maayan
Groisman, Jerusalem Post, 24 February 2016.
With a stated foreign policy of supporting attacks against
other nations and individuals outside the borders of Iran,
it demonstrates a willingness to conduct war by proxy
against individuals and groups. Such is the nature of this
[ 2 ]
The "division between Sunni and Shia
is more apparent than in the past?" A review of the
division" is worth noting, and for this consider
a thumbnail sketch of tolerance and inter-religious
Karbala and forward through history, the division has
been apparent. More apparent today than the Iran-Iraq war
lasting ten years, as Saddam Hussein's Baathist government
fought Khomeini's new "republic?"
A Saudi cleric's fatwa against Hezbollah is certainly the
sign of a "division." This is the point. While so many
assert that they speak for Islam, such speakers have
disagreed with each other for centuries.
[ 3 ]
The "unity" is asserted, even
commanded via a fatwa among so many fatwas, and yet goes
unheeded for the "divisions" as noted above. When all speak
for Islam and define it in their various ways, no one
authoritative voice can speak for "all" without dismissing
other voices as inauthentic, if not accusing other voices as
apostates. Infidel is such an easy word to employ, sharpened
and immediately corrosive to "unity."
[ 4 ]
A proliferation of fatwa websites?
Fatwas against non-Muslims as against other Muslims suggest
that the concept of fatwa linked to the concept of "unity"
among warring sects within Islam clarifies the reality of
that so-called unity which is demonstrably disunity
accompanied by calls to war, calls to arms, calls to kill
Muslims and non-Muslims.
One might consider the naive expression being found in
Western media as spilling blithely from the mouths of
Western politicians, as they chatter on about
The religion of peace
[ 5 ]
One reads for greater detail about
another fatwa: "The Iranian-born cleric Ayatollah Ali
Sistani, Iraq’s most influential religious leader, has
a fatwa to 'all able-bodied Iraqis' to defend the country,
days after the radical Sunni Islamist group ISIS captured
the city of Mosul and advanced south toward Baghdad, the
capital. Sistani, a Shia who worships in the holy city of
Najaf, is considered one of Iraq’s most respected leaders.
His fatwa, or religious ruling, is expected to galvanize a
significant movement from within Iraq’s majority-Shia
population. Al-Sistani is, after all, the most influential
voice for Iraq's estimated 20 million Shia faithful." In
"Why Ayatollah Al-Sistani's Iraq Fatwa Is So Important," by
Matt Schiavenza, International Business Times, 13 June 2014.
Though a Western coalition warred with and toppled the
regime of Saddam Hussein, the Obama administration declared
an end of the war in Iraq and withdrew coalition forces from
Iraq in 2012. Two years later, this fatwa by Sistani became
necessary "to defend the country" from "the radical Sunni
Islamist group ISIS." War in what was Iraq continues
The article notes an odd thing: "Although Sistani called on
all able-bodied Iraqi men, regardless of religious
affiliation, to join the fight against ISIS,
his fatwa may actually exacerbate the sectarian tensions
that have plagued the country. Hardin Lang, a Middle
East expert at the Center for American Progress, believes
that the fatwa will resonate with the Shia population, while
Sunni Iraqis will largely ignore it."
Islam. Division beneath the pose of and call for unity.
Fatwas calling for murderous violence against each other as
well as against non-Muslims. Fatwas ignored. This reality is
the historic tale, from Karbala forward. Schism seems the
common law of man, from religions to secular governance.
[ 6 ]
Fences are to keep some out, and
others in. One reads in the article: "The builders have
often been spurred by fear of Islamic State, after its
conquests in Iraq and Syria and the group’s ability to
inspire Muslim extremists elsewhere, or concern over failed
or failing nations next door.
The jihadist group has built its own walls to fend off
attackers and keep people from escaping, including around
the Iraqi cities of Tal Afar and Mosul."
How interesting is the common feature of tyrannical
government, that it must "keep people from escaping." This
has been a societal truth for centuries, and in this
supposedly modern era of enlightenment one finds still that
for freedom and from tyranny people have
Fled from empty market shelves
- a history lesson.
This time it wears Islamic garb, but it has worn other
political garments as easily.
As to the "unity," one might recall one of many examples of
such a unity. "The Iran–Iraq War was an armed conflict
between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of
Iraq lasting from September 1980 to August 1988, making it
the 20th century's longest conventional war." In
"Iran-Iraq War," Wikipedia, n. d. The article notes: "The
war cost both sides in lives and economic damage: half a
million Iraqi and Iranian soldiers, with an equivalent
number of civilians, are believed to have died, with many
more injured; however, the war brought neither reparations
nor changes in borders. The conflict has been compared
to World War I."
Somehow, given an estimated 500,000 Iranian and Iraqi
soldiers and an estimated 500,000 "equivalent number of
civilians" dead in a ten-year period and the ongoing ISIS
war against other Muslims in the Iraq of today, it seems
that fences guarded by a military between Muslim nations is
a necessity for the so-called "unity" of the ummah.
[ 7 ]
If only these "Islamic radicals" would
heed the words of non-Muslim, self-proclaiming enlightened
Western voices cheering for
The religion of peace
[ 8 ] Call
if you know which caliph
Is the caliph-flowered beard.
Don't you know? You're not sure?
That's what they both have feared.
One says the other's lying,
So in this lies their lie.
Which one is it? Logic asks.
We'll find out, by and by.
Is it one, or the other one?
Maybe both, who knows?
Meanwhile Muslims die for them
As the bloody tide so shows.
False beard, fake beard,
Which beard will be killed?
One, it's sure, in all the world --
As another beard is stilled.
A sameness in the story
" 'Everybody moans but nobody offers any solutions. The
quality of life has really gone down. I’m sorry to say it, but I just
want to leave Rome and move somewhere else.' The city was hit by
a major corruption scandal earlier this year which explained, in
part, why public services are so shoddy. An investigation found that
corrupt local politicians had colluded with criminal gangs to cream off
money from a range of services, from rubbish collection to the
management of refugee facilities." In "Rome is on the verge of
collapse and needs urgent repair, leaders warn," by Nick Squires,
Telegraph UK, 16 July 2015.
There's a sameness in the story,
From place to place,
From time to time, the hoary
Ever changeless rearranged.
The cast of players comes and goes,
All roles yet ever filled,
And on and on the same old woes:
Sweet stolen cream is swilled.
The tune's a shriek, a lilt, a croon.
Interchangeable, varying barely.
Long drones the tired, tireless tune
Which circles, cycles squarely.
That adjective wide weds its noun;
Political to corruption ties the knot.
The two collude, collide, and
The story, that tune, their juggernaut.
So many prance to this one
And read from that old, modern script.
Earlier times like today were strewn
As political corruption's froth was whipped.
The sameness of the tale
And slippery are its players,
From age to age it has
Rewritten by predatory betrayers.
Addendum with a Historical Bent:
"The topic of municipal corruption harkens back to an older
political science literature examining corrupt Machine Era governments
and Progressive attempts to reform them. As the account goes, late 19th
century southern and eastern Europeans used their organizational skills
and growing numbers to create
urban political 'machines' in a number of important immigration
portal cities. Using a variety of tactics, immigrants filled a power
void in American municipal government to assemble and perpetuate
political machines. According to Judd and Swanstrom (2002), 'the
major types of graft in American cities involved handing out lucrative
franchises, setting highly profitable utility rates, authority over the
city’s police power . . . , and the control of public works'.
Neighborhoods that turned out to support the machine typically received
the best services, jobs and contracts, while opponents were either
ignored or punished. So-called
'spoils systems' operated in cities such as Boston,
Kansas City, and Philadelphia. Probably the most infamous
New York’s Tammany Hall – led by William M. 'Boss' Tweed – that
helped Irish immigrants consolidate political and economic power through
the city’s powerful Democratic Party." In "Predator State:
Corruption in a Council-Manager System --The Case of
Bell, California," by Tom Hogen-Esch, California State University
Northridge, Chapman University, 19 February 2015.
See the tale:
Three Little Democrats
Addendum with a Federal
"Public corruption poses a fundamental threat to
our national security and way of life. It impacts everything from
how well our borders are secured and our neighborhoods protected…to
verdicts handed down in courts…to the quality of our roads, schools, and
other government services. And it takes a significant toll on our
pocketbooks, wasting billions in tax dollars every year." In "Public
Corruption," Federal Bureau of Investigation, site accessed July 2015.
Consider just a few of the United States of America's
Addendum of Theories:
"There is no consensus in the corruption literature
(theoretical or empirical) regarding the relationship between the size
of government and the corruption scourge.
The two competing theories can be resumed this way: 1. inherently
corrupt or self-interested politicians are the rule; corruption will
mechanically increase with the amount of public spending. 2.
Accountability will trickle down from voters’ concern with the use of
higher taxes." In "Public Sector Size and Corruption: Evidence from
290 Swedish Municipalities," by Andreas Bergh, Günther Fink, Richard
Öhrvall," IFN Working Paper No.938, 2012, October 2012.
Addendum of State
Capture and Administrative Corruption:
"The World Bank has distinguished between two broad
categories of corruption:
State capture: actions by individuals, groups or organizations in the
public and private sectors to influence policy formation to their
advantage by illegally transferring private benefits to public
officials; and Administrative corruption: the use of the same type of
illegal transfers by the same actors to interfere with the proper
implementation of laws, rules and regulations. A similar distinction
can be made between 'grand corruption', involving elected and appointed
officials at the top of government, and 'petty corruption', involving
employees further down the governmental hierarchy who may, for example,
profit personally from the sale of licences." In "Municipal 'Best
Practices': Preventing Fraud, Bribery and Corruption," by Elizabeth
Anderson, International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal
Justice Policy, March 2013.
Addendum of One Example of Many
"Three quarters of Mexico's municipalities are
vulnerable to infiltration and corruption by organized crime, according
to a top Mexican official, in a sign of the challenges authorities face
in attempts to stamp out corruption. The claim was made by the head
of legal affairs at Mexico’s Interior Ministry (SEGOB), David Arellano
Cuan during a public hearing before Mexico's senate, which is currently
debating the proposed implementation of 'mando unico' or 'single
command.' Mando unico aims to curtail local corruption by temporarily
handing municipal police responsibilities to Mexico's 32 state police
departments. The initiative would require modification of the country's
constitution." In "75% of Mexico Municipalities Susceptible to Organized
Crime: Official," by Arron Daugherty, In Sight Crime, Organized Crime in
the Americas, 23 January 2015.
Addendum of The
Chicago Way: "The Chicago law firm comes
to Berrios to lower the property assessments on hundreds of properties
across the city and suburbs each year, saving some of its clients as
much as $100,000 or more in property taxes as a result. Since
September 2009, when he launched his first campaign for assessor,
Berrios' campaign funds have gotten $60,900 in contributions from
employees of Crane and Norcross, records show. The funds he controls
have gotten another $29,100 from Madison Appraisal, a firm Crane and
Norcross often uses to compile the data it submits to persuade Berrios
to lower property assessments. Now, Berrios has hired a Crane family
member as his chief deputy assessor — Christopher M. Crowley, the
founder of Madison Appraisal. Crowley’s uncle, Michael Crane, heads
Crane and Norcross. Crowley’s sister and father work for the law firm.
Crowley — the only applicant for the $144,337-a-year job." In "Assessor
Berrios gave key job to top tax lawyer's nephew," by Tim Novak,
Chris Fusco and Max Rust, Chicago Sun Times, 1 August 2015.
[ 3 ]
See only a few of the many instances from around the
Corruption has a middle name
[ 1 ]
That there are two competing theories
seems quite the academic point-of-view. Likely both are true
as one surveys the enormous storied evidence, that indeed
"inherently corrupt or self-interested politicians are the
rule," and also voters eventually become concerned "with the
use of higher taxes" to gain wealth for the unending greed
of the corrupt.
It may be that as transparency increases and more "public
servant" corruption -- the legal as well as the illegal --
comes to be known, one will consistently see government as
easily corrupted, such that the ideal of transparent
government behind which corrupt politicians can no longer
hide will become the next great political movement. One may
also count that such a movement will be resisted by the
corrupt in and aligned with government.
[ 2 ]
As with the theories cited above,
these categories of "legal corruption" -- state capture and
administrative corruption -- and other categories by degree
-- grand and petty -- all come to the same point. Political
machinations via vehicles of government are often applied as
corrupt practices. Thus, indeed the adjective "political" is
so often wedded to "corruption," as corrupt politicians
reversed the role of adjective and noun but tells that same
tale. It is a tale of sheer, mere, drear
[ 3 ] "Here’s a list of all
the Berrioses on the public payroll, and how much
they earned, as of late last year. Joe Berrios, Cook County
Assessor: $125,000; Carmen Berrios (sister), Deputy
Assessor: $107,841; Erasmo Berrios (brother), retired
highway maintenance worker, Illinois Department of
Transportation: $86,189 pension; Toni Berrios (daughter),
Illinois state representative, $74,569; Miguel Berrios
(brother), highway maintainer, Illinois Department of
Transportation: $73,020; Vanessa Berrios (daughter), manager
of industrial and commercial valuations, Assessor’s Office:
$72,444; Joey Berrios (son), manager of residential field,
Assessor’s Office: $72,444; Maria Elena Cruz (sister),
retired principal, Moos Elementary: $67,995 pension; George
Berrios (brother), mechanical assistant, Cook County
Department of Facilities Management: $67,828; Hector Berrios
(brother), toll collector, Illinois State Toll Highway
Authority, $60,894; Maria Berrios (sister-in-law), deputy
member, Cook County Board of Review: $57,109; Erasmo Berrios
(nephew), administrative assistant, Cook County Department
of Environmental Control: $56,442; Wilfredo Cruz
(brother-in-law), deputy member, Cook County Board of
Review, $52,122; Stephen Berrios (nephew), law clerk, Office
of the Chief Judge, Cook County: $44,655; George Erasmo
Berrios Jr (nephew), executive assistant, Illinois Secretary
of State: $39,996. Overall, various Berrioses are
collecting $1,058,548 in public pensions and salaries each
year." In "Opinion: Berrios Family Owes Us
$529,000," by Edward McClelland, NBC Chicago, 18 July 2015.
Entropy = (Boltzmann's constant k) x logarithm of number
of possible states
= k log(N)
"...Mozart, not long after writing The Magic Flute, had died--in his
thirties--of kidney disease. And had been buried in an unmarked pauper's
grave. Thinking this, he wondered if Mozart had any intuition that the
future did not exist, that he had already used up his little time. Maybe
I have too, Rick thought as he watched the rehearsal move along. This
rehearsal will end, the performance will end, the singers will die,
eventually the last score of the music will be destroyed in one way or
another; finally the name 'Mozart' will vanish, the dust will have won.
If not on this planet then another. We can evade it awhile. As the andys
can evade me and exist a finite stretch longer. But I will get them or
some other bounty hunter gets them. In a way, he realized, I'm part
of the form-destroying process of entropy.” In "Do Androids Dream of
Electric Sheep?" Philip K. Dick, Doubleday, 1968.
because something bears the aspect of the inevitable one should not,
therefore, go along willingly with it." In "The Transmigration of
Timothy Archer," Philip K. Dick, Timescape Books/Simon and Schuster,
Addendum of Evidence:
"...these days, there's something missing that is even
more important than reform for growth: trust. Voters don't trust
what we can loosely call the financial establishment — Wall Street, Paul
Krugman, the Federal Reserve, the universities. You can pinpoint the
moment that financial trust was lost in America: Sept. 17, 2008, the day
the government bailed out American Insurance Group after not bailing out
Lehman Brothers in the same week. The sheer arbitrariness of the
bailout policy was even worse than the fact of the bailouts. And the
Obama administration locked in the trend by continuing where President
George W. Bush left off." In "Trump Evidence Of Voters' Lack Of
Trust In Financial Establishment," by Amity Shlaes, Investors, 9
Addendum of America's
Declining Social Capital: "In the established
democracies, ironically, growing numbers of citizens are questioning
the effectiveness of their public institutions at the very moment when
liberal democracy has swept the battlefield, both ideologically and
geopolitically. In America, at least, there is reason to suspect
that this democratic disarray may be linked to a broad and continuing
erosion of civic engagement that began a quarter-century ago. High on
our scholarly agenda should be the question of whether a comparable
erosion of social capital may be under way in other advanced
democracies, perhaps in different institutional and behavioral guises.
High on America's agenda should be the question of how to reverse
these adverse trends in social connectedness, thus restoring civic
engagement and civic trust." In "Bowling Alone: America's Declining
Social Capital," by Robert D. Putnam, Journal of Democracy 6.1 (1995).
of Declining Trust in Fraudulent Science: Dr. Richard
Horton, Editor-in-chief of the Lancet recently published a statement
declaring that a shocking amount of published research is unreliable
at best, if not completely false, as in, fraudulent. Horton
declared, “Much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply
be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects,
invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest,
together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious
importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.” To state the
point in other words, Horton states bluntly that major pharmaceutical
companies falsify or manipulate tests on the health, safety and
effectiveness of their various drugs by taking samples too small to be
statistically meaningful or hiring test labs or scientists where the lab
or scientist has blatant conflicts of interest such as pleasing the drug
company to get further grants. At least half of all such tests are
worthless or worse he claims. As the drugs have a major effect on the
health of millions of consumers, the manipulation amounts to criminal
dereliction and malfeasance." In "Shocking Report
from Medical Insiders," by F. William Engdahl, Journal-neo.org, 18 June
of Severe Distrust: "Only 6 percent of people say
they have a great deal of confidence in the press, about the same level
of trust Americans have in Congress, according to a new survey
released on Sunday. The study mirrors past reports that found the
public’s trust in mass media has reached historic lows, according to
data gathered by the Media Insight Project, a partnership between The
Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the
American Press Institute. The report found faith in the press was just
slightly higher than the 4 percent of people who said they trusted
Congress." In "Hardly Anyone Trusts The Media Anymore," by Nick
Visser, Huffington Post, 18 April 2016.
of Fooling the Public: "By
August 12, the ECB had handed out over €16 billion in freshly printed
money in exchange for corporate bonds. Throughout, the public was given
to understand that the ECB was buying already-issued bonds trading in
secondary markets. But the public has been fooled. Now it has been
revealed by The Wall Street Journal that the ECB has also secretly been
buying bonds directly from companies, thus handing them directly its
freshly printed money." In "Revealed: ECB Secretly Hands Cash to
Select Corporations," by Don Quijones, Wolf Street, 22 August 2016.
of Fact Skewing: "A new Rasmussen Reports
national telephone and online survey finds that just 29% of all Likely
U.S. Voters trust media fact-checking of candidates’ comments.
Sixty-two percent (62%) believe instead that news organizations skew the
facts to help candidates they support." In "Voters Don’t Trust Media
Fact-Checking," Rasmussen Reports, 30 September 2016.
Addendum of Astounding Cynicism:
"Nearly two-thirds (64%) of the American public have little to no
confidence that 'the government in Washington' will actually solve the
problems it sets its mind to. We asked this question in 1996 and
found much the same — the figure was 60 percent two decades ago. 26 The
difference is that, 20 years on, the attitudes have hardened: Where 21
percent of the American population said they had no confidence at all in
1996, that figure jumped to 30 percent in 2016. The cynicism about
the government is astonishing." In "The Vanishing Center of American
Democracy," by James Davison Hunter and Carl Desportes Bowman, Advanced
Studies in Culture Foundation, 2016.
[ 1 ]
of Historical Roots: " 'When you think about the
beginning of the country, it was all about throwing off the shackles
of the English monarchy,' says Vanderbilt University political science
professor Marc Hetherington, who wrote the book Why Trust Matters:
Declining Political Trust and the Demise of American Liberalism. 'We set
up institutions that were designed to cut down on people imposing their
will on ordinary folks,' he adds. 'Given those circumstances, it's
not surprising that we've had a legacy of distrust or mistrust of
government ever since the beginning'." In "Distrusting Government:
As American As Apple Pie," by Ari Shapiro, Atlantic, 19 April 2010.
[ 2 ]
Consider that trust rusts and social capital declines
- government flexing its sinews
[ 1 ] The academic
astonishment is astonishing. One reads about endemic
and makes appropriate, fact-informed opinions. That these
opinions might reflect demonstrable proof rather than
empty-headed opinion that
has at its center corruption costing society plenty should
not be "astonishing." Trust rusts.
The study notes: "Disaffection from the governing
institutions of a social order can be seen as fairly
abstract and the influences of the large-scale organizations
as powerful, but still remote from everyday life. Yet
Americans experience these concerns very personally. We
have seen how strong majorities of Americans believe that
politicians and leaders in business, the media, education
and technology don’t care about ordinary people like them;
that these leaders and the institutions they represent serve
primarily themselves, not average people or the common good.
We also know that these tendencies in public opinion are now
broadly if not deeply etched into American
self-understanding. It is not surprising that a significant
minority — nearly four out of ten Americans (38%) — agree
that 'these days, I feel like a stranger in my own
Indeed, "it is not surprising." Neither should it be
[ 2 ] That there are
"American" historical roots to the distrust of government is
only one frame in a larger picture. Other nations have had
their revolutions, and yet after many revolutions, the
sclerosis of despotic, corrupt government sets in again.
Worldwide, the picture is clear. One reads: "The
largest-ever global survey on corruption by Transparency
International, which surveyed more than 114,000 respondents
in 107 countries, found that over half the respondents
said corruption had worsened over the last two years.
The survey comes at a time of increased public anger against
the perceived corruption and self-interest of governments,
from Brazil to Egypt and Turkey. It revealed a deep
distrust of political leaders. In 51 countries around
the world political parties were seen as the most corrupt
institution and 55 percent of respondents thought government
was run by special interests. 'Around the world,
political parties, the driving force of democracies, are
perceived to be the most corrupt institution,' the
report said." In "Corruption Worsens Amid Deep Distrust of
Government," by Holly Ellyatt, CNBC, 9 July 2013.
It should not be surprising that "party" interests come
first for party members, and all too often this results in
diktats issued on behalf of "special interests," which
unsurprisingly turn out to be an elite few. "Throwing off
the shackles" of an elite few usually results in swift and
often harsh reaction from such an elite. So are political
parties "the driving force of democracies?" Then the driving
force drives most often towards corruption.
Bankrupt riches - the
How do the well-off do?
Quite well; pity,
Acts as rich avenue.
A public servant,
Pockets a pile of pay.
Stockton Public Employee Remuneration, 2013, Transparent California.
Robert Deis, City Manager,
$327,084; Eric T. Jones, Chief of Police, $291,553;
Richard Salsedo, Deputy Chief of Police,
$269,395; John Luebberke, City Attorney, $247,359; Thomas
Jernigan, Police Captain,
$240,943; Laura Montes, Deputy City Manager, $237,968;
Michael Reynosa, Police Lieutenant,
$237,868; Troy Broddrick, Deputy Chief of Police, $235,441;
Joseph Rocha, Police Lieutenant,
$234,489; Robert Tuitavuki, Fire Battlion Chief, $234,299.
These are the top ten out of
672 public employees earning more that $100,000 per year.
(Source: Transparent California, for 2013.)
The median income for a household in the city was $35,453, and the
median income for a family was $40,434. Males had a median income of
$35,181 versus $26,602 for females. The per capita income for the city
was $15,405. 23.9% of the population and 18.9% of families were below
the poverty line. (Source: Wikipedia, n. d.)
Addendum of the Governing
Bully: "While the written opinion is essentially
a rehash of the October rulings, it includes some scolding of CalPERS
and its leading antagonist in the case, the Franklin Templeton
investment firm of San Mateo. Franklin, angered that it was getting
just 12 cents on the dollar for a $36 million loan to the city,
launched a lengthy court fight against the city’s decision to pay
CalPERS in full. CalPERS argued that government pensions are
untouchable. Klein had little sympathy for CalPERS, calling its legal
defenses faulty. He wrote that
the pension fund 'bullied its way about in this case with an iron
But the judge also was disdainful of Franklin, which he said
rejected an offer by the city to increase its payments. While Franklin
will now lose $32 million, he said that’s small change compared to the
$550 million Stockton retirees lost when the city ended its retiree
health care plan." In "Stockton bankruptcy judge puts key CalPERS
rulings in writing," by Dale Kasler, Sacramento Bee, 5 February 2015.
[ 1 ]
Addendum of Supposedly Being
Unable to Pay:
"Stockton, a city of nearly 300,000 located in Northern
California, filed for bankruptcy in 2012 after years of fiscal
mismanagement and a housing market crash that left it unable to pay
its workers, pensioners and bondholders. Stockton's case, along with a
handful of other municipal bankruptcies over the past few years, have
been closely watched by the $3.6 trillion U.S. municipal market to see
how creditors, from Wall Street investors to pensioners, would be
treated." In "Stockton bankruptcy judge calls California pension fund
a 'bully'," by Robin Respaut, Reuters, 5 February 2015.
[ 2 ]
Addendum of Governments
Underfunding Pensions: "The worsening outlook for
Minnesota is in line with what happened nationally. Pension-funding
ratios declined in 43 states in the 2016 fiscal year, according to data
compiled by Bloomberg. New Jersey had the worst-funded system, with
about 31 percent of the assets it needs, followed by Kentucky with 31.4
percent. The median state pension had a 71 percent funding ratio,
down from 74.5 percent in 2015." In "New Math Deals Minnesota’s
Pensions the Biggest Hit in the U.S.," by Martin Z Braun, Bloomberg, 31
[ 1 ]
One compares the assertion that some
retires "lost" while surveying the elite salaries of public
employees as compared to a median income of Stockton's
citizenry, almost ten times less than the City Manager. What
defines "excessive" remuneration, when a city declares
itself unable to pay, and yet pays comparatively lavish
salaries to its elite among the public sector?
One notes that the current city manager of an officially
bankrupt city is paid more than the mayor of Chicago,
suggesting adjectives like "lavish," "excessive" and perhaps
even "corrupt." As a harbinger, consider the rhyme and its
Three Little Democrats
[ 2 ]
The bankruptcy judge called the public
pension fund a "bully." The city will repay only "12
cents on the dollar" for a private sector loan, and
additionally "ended its retiree health care plan." With the
672 public servant earning three to ten times the average
median income of its citizens, it would be apt to conclude
that the public servants earning such handsome monies are in
fact also "bullies," though that rhetoric as yet to be seen
in local media.
"Years of fiscal mismanagement" by political
leadership exacerbated by a "housing market crash" affecting
property values and individual families have left the
officially "bankrupt" City of Stockton able only to pay a
city manager a meager $327,084 in calendar year 2013. One
can argue the public servants are no longer servants to the
underclass; they are its masters.
In 2012, the U. S. Department of Commerce identified those
earning approximately $100,000 to be in the upper 20 percent
of all citizens, and those earning approximately $200,000 to
be in the upper 5 percent of all citizens. Thus, the
adjective "elite" serves well to describe many of Stockton's
-- and other governmental agencies' -- public servants as
A small question: how does a bankrupt entity pay such
remuneration to its many hundreds of "servants?"
Another: how is this "justice" for the average individual,
family or property owner in the city? State? Nation?
Another: After repaying only 12 cents on the dollar for a
loan, what lenders will still lend to Stockton? To another
municipality with similar economic realities?
Another: when will the next inevitable bankruptcy proceeding
[ 3 ]
The situation stems simply from decades of politicians
intentionally playing their long-ignored game:
Kick the can
- most governments' plan.
Freshly out of options
"At midnight on Tuesday, Greece
[ 1 ]
joined Sudan, Somalia and Zimbabwe
[ 2 ]
as countries in arrears to the IMF. Also
at midnight, the bailout assistance package that began in February 2012
formally expired, leaving Greece without access to any emergency
finances. In Washington, the IMF acknowledged that Greece had failed to
meet its financial obligations on time and that no further financing
would be sent until the arrears were cleared." In "Greece defaults on
IMF payment," by Tanya Talaga, Star, 30 June 2015.
Freshly out of options,
The cupboards are left bare.
sum of nothing?
You can count on that, your share.
The safety of loopy loopholes
Spun from looming debt
wears out and then
What's left is what you get.
Some smart-aleck's scheme
Once glimmered, bright with prose;
arithmetic comes around
To total tally what one
More than all that worthwhile was,
Candidates' political gold;
Pyrite, it turns out, and all because
and then grew cold.
The pitchmen made their pitch;
were acted, heated, hard,
But reality proved the
Freshly out of options,
The lines curl longer still
sum of nothing
Comes up nothing, nix and nil.
Believe in footloose rhetoric
And hope will pile on hope,
without prudence practiced,
All men must blindly
Shed a little lovely light
Upon the darkened lanes,
the cyclic arch,
The narrative explains.
Borrow yesterday away;
Tomorrow's sure to come.
Fewer are the
Always less is more than sum.
In solvent, a seemingly mighty thing
Dissolves and disappears.
Insolvency is the governing thing
Ever calculated as debts' arrears.
Think that you've run out of cash?
You did when first the debts began.
The day the game was started
Was the harbinger the bogeyman.
banks have backed themselves into a corner after repeatedly cutting
interest rates to shore up their economies. These low interest rates
have in turn fuelled economic booms, encouraging excessive risk taking.
Booms have then turned to busts, which policymakers have responded to
with even lower rates. Claudio Borio, head of the organisation’s
monetary and economic department, said: 'Persistent exceptionally low
rates reflect the central banks' and market participants' response to
the unusually weak post-crisis recovery as they fumble in the dark in
search of new certainties'." In "The world is defenceless against the
next financial crisis, warns BIS," by Peter Spence, Telegraph UK, 28
Addendum of the Debt
"...the talks broke down because the creditors refused to
face up to the fact that
Greece's debt is unpayable. The International Monetary Fund has
tacitly endorsed his claims, admitting that the country needs
large-scale debt relief and €50bn of fresh funds over the next three
years to give the economy time to recover." In "Greek banks down to
€500m in cash reserves as economy crashes," by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard,
Telegraph UK, 2 July 2015.
[ 4 ]
Addendum of a Poster Child
for the Debt Unpayable:
"The pension system is the poster-child of the
problem: Until recently, Greeks could retire after just 35 years and
start collecting 80 percent of their final salary; many went into
retirement in their mid-50s.
Today, Greece has only four working people for every three retirees,
pensions consume more than half of all government revenue — and the
population is rapidly aging." In "The Greek welfare-state road to
ruin," by Post Editorial Board, NYPost, 2 July 2015.
[ 5 ]
Addendum of Half of Greece:
"It is estimated tax evasion alone might be
costing the country as much as €20billion a year in lost revenue, while
years of benefit fraud will certainly have added up. But when Angelos
suggested punishing those who tried to play the system, he was given a
straight forward - if depressing - answer. 'If you start putting
people in jail, maybe you'll have to put half of Greece in jail,' an
official said." In "A whole island pretending to be blind to get
benefits, 8,500 pensioners who faked being aged over 100 and lawyers who
claim to earn just €12,000: New book reveals how Greeks cheated
THEMSELVES into ruin," by Flora Drury, Daily Mail UK, 3 July 2015.
A Non-Greek Addendum:
"Puerto Rico's governor on Monday called for the
commonwealth to be allowed to restructure its debts under U.S.
bankruptcy code, while a newly appointed adviser to the U.S. territory
it is 'insolvent' and will soon run out of cash." In "Puerto Rico
governor calls for bankruptcy; adviser says island 'insolvent',"
Reuters, 29 June 2015.
Addendum of a Historical
Similarity: "By the fifth century, in the years
before the complete collapse of Roman government, the imperial
approach to taxation had produced a caste as hopeless as any in history.
Their rapacious exactions, taken wherever and whenever they could, were
the direct result of their desperation about their own increasingly
unpayable tax bills. As these nerved-up outcasts commenced to prey on
whoever was weaker than they,
the rich became even richer. The great landowners ate up the
little ones, the tax base shrank still further, and the middle
classes, never encouraged by the Roman state, began to disappear
from the face of the earth. Nor would they return till the
appearance of the Italian mercantile families of the Middle Ages." In
"The End of the World -- How Rome Fell -- and Why," Chapter 1 in "How
the Irish Saved Civilization," Thomas Cahill, Doubleday, 1995.
[ 6 ]
Addendum of the Larger
"There are 22 countries which currently have high
government debt payments leading to large amounts of money leaving their
country each year, along with an overall net debt with the rest of the
world. Regions particularly affected are Europe (Croatia, Greece,
Ireland, Macedonia, Montenegro, Portugal, Spain and Ukraine) Central
America and the Caribbean (Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El
Salvador, Jamaica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines) and North Africa
and the Middle East (Lebanon and Tunisia). The Gambia in West Africa is
also spending 15% of government revenue on foreign debt payments,
despite qualifying for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor
Countries initiative in 2007. Sudan and Zimbabwe do not have high
government debt payments because they are both in default on much of
their debt. Their overall debt is unpayable. Both are currently trying
to enter debt relief initiatives, but have not been accepted yet by
Western creditor countries." In "The new debt trap,"
Jubilee Debt Campaign, July 2015.
[ 7 ]
Addendum of the State of
Illinois Freshly Out of Options: "The Illinois
state lottery announced Wednesday it’s no longer a lottery; it’s more of
a voluntary collection agency. That’s because the lottery, due to
gridlock in passing a new state budget, no longer has the money to pay
people who win. Selling lottery tickets? Not a problem. Paying out
winning tickets? Problem." In "Illinois Lottery, Strapped for
Cash, Starts Issuing IOUs to Winners Over $600," by Elliot Hannon,
Slate, 14 October 2015.
[ 8 ]
Addendum of Latin America
Freshly Out of Options: "It's easy to get lost
in the weeds of Brazil's, Venezuela's, or other Latin countries'
internal political strife. But there's a broad, unmistakable trend
out there: The region's socialist rule is collapsing as the cash runs
out." In "Latin America's Red Tide Washing Away Fast," by Editorial
Board, Investors Business Daily, 4 December 2015.
of Venezuela Out of Options: "...widespread
scarcities and fleeing businesses reflect a country in crisis. 'There's
a shortage of everything at some level,' says Ricardo Cusanno, vice
president of Venezuela's Chamber of Commerce. Cusanno says 85% of
companies in Venezuela have halted production to some extent." In
"Venezuela is running out of everything: Bread, sugar, toilet paper..."
by Rafael Romo and Patrick Gillespie, CNN Money, 31 May 2016.
[ 1 ]
Greece joined the Euro in 1981. This
was the year the Panhellenic Socialist Movement became the
One reads: "At the Greek legislative election, 1981, PASOK
won a landslide victory over the conservative New Democracy
party, and Papandreou became Greece's first socialist Prime
The party's main slogan was Allagi (change). In
office, Papandreou backtracked from much of his campaign
rhetoric and followed a more conventional approach. Greece
did not withdraw from NATO, United States troops and
military bases were not ordered out of Greece, and Greek
membership in the European Economic Community continued,
largely because Papandreou proved very capable of securing
monetary aid for Greece. In domestic affairs, Papandreou's
government immediately carried out a massive programme of
wealth redistribution upon coming into office that
immediately increased the availability of entitlement aid to
the unemployed and lower wage earners. Pensions, together
with average wages and the minimum wage, were increased in
real terms, and changes were made to labour laws which up
until 1984 made it difficult for employers to make workers
redundant. The impact of the PASOK Government’s social and
economic policies was such that it was estimated in 1988
that two-thirds of the decrease in inequality that occurred
in Greece between 1974 and 1982 took place between 1981 and
1982." In 'Andreas Papandreou," Wikipedia article, n. d.
One finds then that the beginning of the "change" was the
idealized plan of wealth redistribution. Unfortunately it
was also the entry into the Euro currency by what has proved
to have been fraudulent means.
One reads further: "Creative accounting took
priority when it came to totting up government debt.
Since 1999, the Maastricht rules threaten to slap hefty
fines on euro member countries that exceed the budget
deficit limit of three percent of gross domestic product.
Total government debt mustn't exceed 60 percent. The Greeks
have never managed to stick to the 60 percent debt limit,
and they only adhered to the three percent deficit ceiling
with the help of blatant balance sheet cosmetics. One time,
gigantic military expenditures were left out, and another
time billions in hospital debt. After recalculating the
figures, the experts at Eurostat consistently came up with
the same results: In truth, the deficit each year has been
far greater than the three percent limit. In 2009, it
exploded to over 12 percent. Now, though,
it looks like the Greek figure jugglers have been even
more brazen than was previously thought." In "Greek Debt
Crisis: How Goldman Sachs Helped Greece to Mask its True
Debt," by Beat Balzli, Spiegel, 8 February 2010.
As with all stories, these are beginnings and ends. The end
to this iteration of Greek socialism, as entered into under
the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, is being told under the
socialist Syriza party.
Syriza is an acronym meaning the "Radical Coalition of the
Left." Thus one sees the fingerprints of socialist theory
and practice on the more than three decades of "wealth
redistribution" in which real wealth has fled the nation,
been squandered and misused unwisely. One has read stories
of corruption in governing throughout this period alongside
the piling up of unsustainable debt, followed by a
Were the skills of socialist theorists and practitioners in
government has been able to make Greek socialism function,
the default would not be occurring. That "figure jugglers
have been even more brazen than was previously thought"
seems so often to come as a surprise to those who place too
much faith in governance.
Oddly, one sees into some of the Radical Coalition of the
Left's rhetoric to see juggling in words. One reads: "As
endless meetings came and went, both sides refused to give
much ground. Tsipras ratcheted up the rhetoric, accusing
Greece's creditors of 'five years of looting under the
bailouts'." In "Special Report: How Greece went bust,"
by Renee Maltezou, Elizabeth Pineau and Andreas Rinke,
Reuters, 1 July 2015.
Thus a loan is a bailout and expecting a loan to be repaid
is looting. From this linguistic 'clarity,' one may
correctly conclude that the way to end "looting under the
bailouts" is to cease the bailouts, and cease "looting,"
i.e. expecting repayment for previous loans. Ergo, default,
plain and simple. With this clean break then, the Radical
Coalition of the Left can work towards economic success in
Greece using tax revenues from the productive men and women
of Greece, and without further monies from outside the
nation. This will prove something quite like the ongoing
story of Marxist Zimbabwe. How can it otherwise, given the
economic collapse of so many socialist-styled nations over
the last century?
"...For six years the brainiacs at the International
Monetary Fund and the European Union have devised one
bailout and debt restructuring scheme after another. None of
them have worked. They have only saddled the Greek citizens
with even more long term debt that can’t be paid back.
Greece is now sitting on $350 billion of debt. Its unpayable
and the international monetary experts are deluding
themselves into believing that by some magic stroke, this
nation of 11 million citizens will some time in the future
come up with the funds to repay it. Greece is already
overtaxed, and adding more taxing the few businesses that
are still functioning is only going to ensure their eventual
demise too. Meanwhile the Greek citizens have come to the
conclusion that fat pensions and cradle to grave welfare
benefits are a human right that can never be taken away.
That is what they declared in the referendum. But those
benefits are going to be taken away. Socialism has radically
reduced the standard of living of the citizens." In "As
Greece collapses, the big loser is socialism," by
Stephen Moore, Fox News, 7 July 2015.
For this, an argument in rhyme concludes of
So shall ism
as ideology is failing in many locales around the world. But
additionally one finds that this doctrine, often arrived at
by violent revolution and in other places arrived at by
democratic workings, remains distinctly undemocratic,
because one cannot vote one's self a share of someone else's
income without using the force of law to confiscate. For
this, a major proponent of socialism noted well that it is
not in fact democratic, even when arrived at by convincing
citizen to vote for it. See testimony to this:
Socialism's Last Hurrah
democracy in any town.
The softer variant of socialism, the debt-fueled social
welfare state, collapses quite as effectively as the more
militant socialist revolution, because the militant
socialist may use overt force in a one-party state, without
concern for a political opposition toppling the power of the
single-party state -- until simple economic collapse
Basic reality is beginning to be expressed in hard words:
"Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, has said that
Greece elected 'a bunch of lunatics.' He said 'You
can’t be bloody retiring, sitting in a cafe drinking coffee
and expecting the Germans or the Irish or the Portuguese to
pay for you.' Ryanair has been forced to take cash from
Greeks to pay for tickets as their cards are not working due
to capital controls." In "Ryanair chief: Syriza are 'a bunch
of lunatics'," Telegraph UK, 9 July 2015.
[ 2 ]
One finds the many decades of
Zimbabwean government under the ZANU-PF party led to severe
economic crisis. One reads: "Two hundred and seventeen US
dollars – the equivalent of £138. That is all that remains
in the public account of the Zimbabwean government, a
bewildered finance minister has announced. The paltry amount
cast doubt over claims of a slow economic recovery and
fresh questions about the fate of the country's diamond
revenues – officials say almost $685m worth were sold last
year. 'Last week when we paid civil servants there was
$217 [left] in government coffers,' Tendai Biti, the finance
minster, told journalists in the capital, Harare, on
Tuesday, noting that some of them have healthier bank
balances than the state. 'The government finances are in a
paralysis state at the present moment. We are failing to
meet our targets'." In "Zimbabwean government bank balance
'down to $217' ," by David Smith, Guardian UK, 30 January
Basic arithmetic sees the enormous disparity between $685
million dollars in diamond sales by the nation coupled to no
cash reserves "after we paid civil servants." Thus the
various function of Zimbabwean government consume the large
portion of a nation's income, and more.
Zimbabwean governance has not only used up the nation's
income, but also has borrowed and then defaulted on the
debt. One learns: "The International Monetary Fund
said Zimbabwe must pay $142 million in overdue payments to
be eligible for more credit, a task the country’s Finance
Minister Patrick Chinamasa said will be hard to do without
'fresh money.' The IMF last year began a monitoring program
in Zimbabwe, which has been
in default to the lender since 1999. The IMF this
year appointed its first representative to the southern
African nation in a decade in a step toward mending
The country has at least $10 billion in external debts."
In "IMF Says Zimbabwe Must Repay Debt to Be Eligible for
More Credit," by Brian Latham, Bloomberg, 23 September 2014.
Zimbabwean governance is evidence of Marxist-inspired
One reads odd news couched in racist terms:
"Zimbabwe’s government has for the first time suggested it
may give official permission for some white farmers to stay
on their land, 15 years after it sanctioned widespread land
grabs that plummeted the country into an economic crisis.
Douglas Mombeshora, the Zanu-PF Lands Minister, said
provincial leaders had been asked to draw up a list of
white farmers they wanted to stay on their farms deemed to
be 'of strategic economic importance'." In "Zimbabwe to
hand back land to some white farmers," by Peta Thornycroft
and Aislinn Laing, Telegraph UK, 13 July 2015.
But Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1987 and
"corrected" the colonial history and apartheid, now suggests
that his land reform handed land to those who were ignorant
of profitable farming and such "strategic economic
importance" comes from whites? The illogic and racial
thought is evidence of sheer ignorance borne of Marxist
political theory -- "scientific socialism," as one should
recall -- which pretended that agrarian science as practiced
by white farmers when the former Rhodesia was known as the
"breadbasket of Africa." Now somehow the cause of such
historical injustices -- whites of European background --
are supposed to reverse the collapse of the ZANU-PF Marxist
governance. The irony is enormous.
What is Zimbabwean government, after the fall of Rhodesia
and apartheid there? "The Zimbabwe African National
Liberation Army (ZANLA) was ZANU's military wing. Before
1980, it was very heavily dependent on China and other
communist countries for finance, arms supplies and training.
For this reason, ZANU made itself amenable to Maoist and
other communist ideology." In "Zimbabwe African National
Union," Wikipedia, n. d. Thus one may lay to the
theorists and practitioners of Zimbabwean Marxism the
successful revolution against Rhodesian apartheid, but also
the failed economic revolution which socialism brags it can
build and sustain. In debt of billions and without "fresh
money" from yet more unsustainable loans coupled to a
government which pays itself most of the nation's economic
output, one sees the dream become a nightmare.
A socialist nation carrying massive debt, in default to the
IMF as "lender of last resort," and paying the government --
those "civil servants" -- the largest portion of remaining
income is also now undergoing significant political rivalry
all on the Left. One reads: "
The government has failed and the Look East policy only
makes a few people rich.
'Only until there is a real change of government, we are
all going to suffer. The only person capable of changing
this is Amai Mujuru,' Mutasa said in a recent interview with
the Daily News." In "Stalwarts form new Zanu PF," by Fungi
Kwaramba, Daily News, 6 April 2015.
One finds additional data in less-known media: "The
daily struggle for survival in an economy with
unemployment estimated at close to 90 percent has
created another problem for Harare as an estimated 20,000
vendors have invaded the central business district, making
it an eye sore. Critics say this is a symptom of a
collapsing state, where political infighting and corruption
are keeping people in poverty and misery." In "Dirty
Harare City Now 'A Warzone'," VOA via ZimEye, 2 July 2015.
The injustices of what was once Rhodesia were to have caused
"poverty and misery" and now the realities of Zimbabwe are
"keeping people in poverty and misery."
It should come as no surprise to one watching international
Socialists love money
as the details continue to mount up under the title of
Capital for Communists
a story growing old.
But before leaving the tale of Zimbabwe, one should note the
egalitarian evidence of enlightened Marxist-inspired
leadership: "The lavish celebration for the Zimbabwean
president’s 91st will be held on 28 February on a
championship golf course at the Elephant Hills Resort, a
luxury hotel with spa, swimming pool and tennis courts at
Victoria Falls. An estimated 20,000 people are expected to
attend. Local farmer Tendai Musasa has pledged to donate two
elephants, two buffalo, two sables, five impalas and a lion
worth a combined £78,000 towards the jamboree,
Zimbabwe’s Chronicle newspaper reported." In "Robert
Mugabe's birthday party cooks up elephantine storm before it
starts," by David Smith, Guardian UK, 16 February 2015.
In a population of 14+ million citizens of Zimbabwe, the
"estimated 20,000" people seems like a party of party
members. As to median income, one learns: "The
average wage is $253 a month—and that's for the 30 percent
of the population who are employed. The highest government
salary is $508 per month." In "How Did Zimbabwe Become
So Poor—And Yet So Expensive?" by Michael Hobbes, New
Republic, 6 January 2014.
With the ZANU-PF Marxists in power, Zimbabwe is collapsing
for all except the power elite. That power elite now turns
to what is essentially a plan to counterfeit currency. One
reads of this collapsing nation: "Zimbabwe once
removed 12 zeros from its battered currency at the height of
hyper-inflation in 2009 when the largest note was the $100
trillion denomination. State-sanctioned seizure of
white-owned farms starting in 2000 left the agricultural
sector in ruin, and triggered a sharp economic slowdown,
with mass unemployment, emigration and many business
closures. President Robert Mugabe, 90, has ruled the
country, which relies on imports for even basic commodities,
since independence in 1980." In "Zimbabwe to print local
'US dollar'," News 24, 5 May 2016.
Relative luxury for the fat cats and a lavish celebration
too, while 70 percent are unemployed. Such is the nature of
government leadership in a nation "in arrears" to
international lenders, and unable to repay loans or attract
foreign investment. But at least elephant, buffalo, sable,
impala and lion are on the menu for the human fat cats.
[ 3 ]
The world has no defense in the next
financial crisis? The rhetoric is odd. A more careful
question would be: is the world defenseless against the next
corrupt government? I think the answer is yes, in the
moment. Corrupt, incompetent and often brutal governments
must collapse, incompetence reigning and leading to such
tales as the above.
The unquestioned assumption that government is the answer to
such is erroneous, as one surveys the participation by
government in so many of these crises, as well as wars,
injustice against nations' own citizenry and more. While
socialists like to say that socialism provides the answers,
Greek and Zimbabwean socialism have demonstrated the
opposite. Moreover, many other insolvencies, defaults and
collapses are properly laid to the ideology. The early
quasi-socialists are often cited as rationale for socialism,
but in fact the inverse is true.
Many of the early 20th century "socialists" and "communists"
were in fact anarchists, often opposed to the state.
As cited elsewhere supporting these views-in-rhyme, one
reads: "It is certainly clear that wherever society
exits there is no room for the state, but that wherever the
state is it is like a thorn in society’s flesh, it does not
permit it to form a people who can socially inhale and
exhale, and instead divides them into classes and thereby
prevents them from being a society. A centralized
construct cannot at the same time be a federalist construct.
A system of management organized along authoritarian lines
is a government, a bureaucracy, a commanding power, and this
is the mark of the state; a community built upon equal
rights and mutuality is, when considered within the bounds
of their physical proximity, a people, when considered as a
general form of human living, a society. State and
society are opposing concepts; the one excludes the other."
Erich Kurt Mühsam, in "The Liberation of Society from the
State. What is Communist Anarchism?" (Berlin-Britz, November
1932, Translated by CR Edmonston, 13 Sept 2008)
Additionally: "Anarchism, then, really stands for the
liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion;
the liberation of the human body from the dominion of
property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of
Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free
grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real
social wealth; an order that will guarantee to every human
being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the
necessities of life, according to individual desires,
tastes, and inclinations." Emma Goldman, in "Anarchism
and Other Essays." (Third revised edition, New York: Mother
Earth Publishing Association, 1917)
These early anarchists, often appropriated by socialists to
"prove" some rhetorical assertion, say quite a similar
thing. "Real social wealth," as Goldman states, is produced
by a social order not the state, and "according to
individual desires, tastes, and inclinations." Ergo freedom
equates to "real social wealth, while the government equates
to "shackles and restraint." Mühsam notes, government acts
on its citizens and "divides them into classes and thereby
prevents them from being a society."
In the simple look to Stockton's elite public servants, one
finds such imagery to be economically true.
"State and society are opposing concepts; the one
excludes the other."
This is a most disagreeable political opinion from the
perspective of the elite public servants, for whom
is their path to riches. For today's parlance, one might
alter the statement to the "state and society are opposing
concepts; the one becomes rich from the other."
[ 4 ]
If the debt is indeed "unpayable,"
whether it was or was not in previous years, the simple fact
is that unpayable debt which cannot logically be repaid
cannot be followed by "more debt." The notion of "fresh
funds" is a linguistic error, for "fresh funds" are also
either basic charity to an entire nation, no longer
necessary to be repaid, or fresh debt piled onto existing
Shortly after another "deal," one reads: " 'The
dramatic deterioration in debt sustainability points to the
need for debt relief on a scale that would need to go well
beyond what has been under consideration to date - and
what has been proposed by the ESM,' the IMF said, referring
to the European Stability Mechanism bailout fund. European
countries would have to give Greece a 30-year grace period
on servicing all its European debt, including new loans, and
a very dramatic maturity extension, or else make explicit
annual fiscal transfers to the Greek budget or accept 'deep
upfront haircuts' on their loans to Athens, the report
said." In "Exclusive: Greece needs debt relief far beyond EU
plans - Secret IMF report," Reuters, 14 July 2015.
Whatever the politics of this from any political stance is,
the basic arithmetic becomes glaringly simple. The debt is
not payable in large part, and therefore more loans --
meaning more debt -- become wholly a political game of
income transfer, and not lending in any sense of the word.
Rather it becomes pretence. Political pretence.
[ 5 ]
While the editorial board of a
newspaper, in print and online, might seem to be making a
political statement, the simplest of arithmetic is the
analyst. When a citizenry has "only four working people for
every three retirees," and pensions "consume" more than half
of government revenue, then the limits to a sustainability
of the economy have been breached. Thus, one may understand
the range of arguments which have come from months of
negotiations with the other member states of the European
Union all amount to "rent seeking" from outside the national
borders of Greece itself.
For a broader perspective on the phenomenon of rent seeking,
A Tale of Lords, told by a Serf
When half of a given population expects their "rent" for
past productivity to be supplied by the remaining half of a
population which remains productive, the arithmetic says
that a "worker" must work for two that a "retired" worker no
longer work, all the while "democratically" requiring the
working individual to comply. As the productive conclude
that they are being too heavily burdened, they will revolt
in violent but also non-violent ways. This was the
experience of the feudal society, of the aristocratic
order, of the era of robber barons, as well as the
experience of the now-collapsed Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics, wherein almost every five-year plan missed its
The joke in that era was "I am working against the
government -- by not working."
One has seen a similar generational collapse of the kibbutz
system begun by ideologically driven Israelis, who found
that successive generations did not hold similar goals and
interests, but rather walked away. Additionally such social
phenomena as strikes and boycotts have been non-violent
methods to overthrow some behavior of a system, regime,
governance and the like.
When half a population requires the other half to fund their
lack of earning except through the act of enforced rent
seeking, a collapse is inevitable. Ideology plays no part in
the conclusion to the arithmetic.
One must work for two. This functions within a family, but
not across a nation, nations or worldwide.
[ 6 ]
While the story comes from before the
collapse of the Roman Empire, one only need change some
nouns to find this same story as current as today's stories.
Instead of Imperial Rome, one may read a nation's central
government, and yet while the rich still get richer, the
lower classes are increasingly squeezed by taxation. Yet the
central government's politicians portray themselves as
defenders of the rich. Cahill explains.
"We should not think of the emperors as active persecutors
of the poor
curiales. (They actually thought of themselves as
protecting them -- and all Roman citizens -- from the cruel
vagaries of life beyond the Roman
orbis. ....the bureaucratic and social
establishments of Rome became so top-heavy and entrenched
that effective reform was no longer possible. Class was
insulated from class."
One finds the insulated political class still being
"top-heavy and entrenched," whether it be one nation,
another, or even the supranational entities like the
European Union, United Nations and the like. If history be a
guide, "effective reform" is "no longer possible," but
rather the predicted outcomes will be collapse. Such
collapse was seen in the dissolution of the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics, the many monetary crises ongoing around
the world, and the continuing demand from politicians that
they be heeded and indeed obeyed. all the while they demand
"more" money from a citizenry in fiscal distress. The fault
is never that of the political leadership, of course, for
they are self-described victims of some other "enemy" than
their own "bureaucratic and social establishments."
[ 7 ]
The key notion in this statement is
that "high government debt payments leading to large
amounts of money leaving their country each year" is the
cause of many crises. Potentially productive local capital
flees local government controls, and when local government
debt rises and that same local government seeks capital
within its jurisdiction, it is local capital which flees.
In many instances, a range from government mismanagement to
government corruption is why "financing" through debt of
government programs is ineffective in growing an economy.
Rather, it is proving correct to note that such governments
are hindering local economies, and then blaming capital for
From overtly Communist nations like China and its elite
billionaires to socialist nations like Venezuela with its
elite living well on the backs of poverty to social welfare
states which have funded unsustainable benefits by borrowing
from tomorrow, the structure of the failure is quite the
Pay for today -- for government programs to benefit a range
of the true poor to actual billionaires -- by borrowing from
Pay for today to fund unpayable promises, and then look for
more lenders to increase debt to even greater unpayable
levels, all the while it is clear that "high government debt
payments leading to large amounts of money leaving their
country each year." For this one finds even the officially
Communist Chinese billionaires are shifting capital to other
nations, as has been the practice for the corrupt in
government for many decades.
Thus one may conclude that most "public debt" in this era is
itself a scam, buying power and wealth for the few and
making more desperate the many, as inflation grinds down the
lower classes. Government accuses the private and productive
but it is the sheer ignorance of government that piles up
public debt. And for this, it becomes imperative that such
ignorant government attempt to
Put the past to rest
- ignore the dead oppressed -- that history not
reveal the same old scam being repeated again and again,
from government to bungling, indebted government.
The article citing the report reminds: "
'All this debt is probably being accumulated because
other sources of growth are increasingly in decline,'
says Russell Jones. 'There’s a lot of pressure on
governments and central banks to keep things going at the
old rate'." In "Beyond Greece, the world is filled
with debt crises," by Heather Stewart, Guardian UK, 11
July 2015. (Jubilee’s policy officer: Tim Jones)
When every nation -- the most indebted being
- the Debtor Man --
is a debtor, then the future is predictable. As in
feudal times and the era of emperors, aristocracies,
dictators, the oligarchs and plutocrats and of course that
"dictatorship of the proletariat," the rich in and of
government will live far above the common folk.
What presses against this? Those who follow the behavior
most disagreeable to the "betters" of such governments -- as
People walk away
This is because not only to people walk away, but as the
report notes, "high government debt payments lead[s] to
large amounts of money leaving their country each year."
Government which goes into sustained periods of
unsustainable debt is the cause, the crisis and the proof of
where true, sheer ignorance lies -- with the politicians and
Debt suppresses sources of growth.
[ 8 ] All the while
taking in money is never a problem for government, paying
out -- or paying back -- seems to be the consistent theme,
as government pledges responsibility and accountability
while evidencing neither. Noted in the article is a
consistent theme, as one reads: "Katelyn Johnson,
executive director of Action Now, said the mayor’s
elected school board is part of a culture of corruption.
'They’ve allowed this to happen. It happened right under
their noses, and they looked the other way. So they’re
equally as culpable as she is, and things need to change,'
The succinct prose of the article notes: "Selling lottery
tickets? Not a problem. Paying out winning tickets?
Problem." How easily this compares to Detroit selling
municipal bonds and then, in some high profile cases,
"paying out" 12 cents on the investment dollar. See
the unfortunate truths of democracy in action:
- not sugarcoated.
The ever-present theme in all these tales of government is
It is that simple. It is that profound.
The apple-crapple cart rolls by,
Its vendor loudly
calls the cry.
Who will buy them apples?
Won't you even try?
Tasty, once you've bitten,
With apple-crapple smitten,
All creeds will be rewritten.
The apple-crapple cart gleams bright,
Its fruit well polished to
Each who struggles, grapples,
With some higher calling's
Bite the apple-crapple, bite
And savor its alluring sleight
Of hand -- well-seasoned scrapple
Whipping a people's appetite.
Good little party
Good little party members, march in step;
the precipice, fueled with pep.
Footfalls all in unison, with none to disagree;
Schools of fish, herds and hordes, sheep and we
Move in expected
Fish out of water are misfits we disdain;
opposing party reign.
Oddballs are the squarest pegs roundly in their holes,
those alternatives which are not party goals.
Good little party members, act accordingly;
Cudgel ready when the
I breaks from the forceful we.
Just because you
say it loud
Just because you say it loud does not make it so.
because you want it bad will not much bestow.
Just because is just
because, no path by which to grow.
Even as you kick and fuss, your
debts you still will owe.
As you wish and want and will, the reply
comes often - no.
Why is that? It's just because. I thought you'd
like to know.
We ran out
"Dad would say, 'When you try to get something for
nothing, you'll end up getting nothing for something'." In "Father's
Day: Being Raised Without a Father Is Not a Death Sentence," by Larry
Elder, Townhall, 17 June 2015.
We ran out of what once was free; for free now, we'll have
What seemed a tiny little problem has suddenly grown quite
So many lined up for the free that soon it all was gone.
Still there's clamor, "give us more;" but we are overdrawn.
When all is done and given and the larder is quite bare,
talk and blather chatters, battering vacuous air.
When the well is
emptied, when the tap runs dry,
When the source has withered there
comes that by and by.
Free runs out, and that's the truth which too few will wish to hear.
Warnings fall like thunderclaps upon each deafest ear.
comes for nothing, as seems that labeled free,
Soon nothing costs its
something, as ends men's foolish spree.
Addendum of Running Out, Greek
"The rich can mitigate the effect of enforced bank holidays,
capital controls and hyperinflation by holding assets or cash abroad;
the very poor don’t have much to lose in the first place.
It is always those in the middle -- and especially what Marxist
intellectuals call the petit bourgeois, the aspiring, hard-working
workers and savers -- who are hurt the hardest.
They will have worked hard to build a life for themselves, and will
find it intolerable to see it all snatched away. These are grim days
indeed for Greece." In "Leftist politics have doomed Greece to
collapse," Allister Heath, Telegraph UK, 29 June 2015.
Addendum of Running Out,
Venezuelan Style: "...getting even poorer now,
because of economic mismanagement on a world-historical scale. The
problem is simple: Venezuela's government thinks it can have an economy
by just pretending it does. That it can print as much money as it wants
without stoking inflation by just saying it won't. And that it can end
shortages just by kicking people out of line. It's a triumph of magical
thinking that's not much of one when it turns grocery-shopping into a
days-long ordeal that may or may not actually turn up things like food
or toilet paper. This reality has been a long time coming." In "Venezuela
should be rich, but its government has destroyed its economy," by
Matt O'Brien, Washington Post, 21 January 2015.
[ 1 ]
Addendum of Running Out,
Zimbabwean Style: "Hyper-inflation saw prices in
shops change several times a day, severe shortages of basic goods and
Zimbabweans taking their money to market in wheelbarrows. Ahead of the
abandonment of the Zimbabwean dollar in January 2009, officials gave up
on reporting official inflation statistics.
Towards the end of 2008, annual inflation had reached 231m%,
pensions, wages and investments were worthless, most schools and
hospitals were closed and at least eight in 10 people were out of work."
In "Zimbabwe dollars phased out," BBC, 12 June 2015.
[ 2 ]
Addendum of Argentine Running
"After years of bitter court battles with creditors,
Argentina has defaulted on its debt, according to rating agency Standard
& Poor's. After failing to come to an agreement with creditors from its
previous default in 2001, the country missed necessary bond payments on
July 31, triggering the default announcement." In "Not just
Argentina: 11 countries near bankruptcy," by Alexander E.M. Hess and
Alexander Kent, USA Today, 1 August 2014.
[ 3 ]
Addendum of Chicago Public
Schools Running Out: "The downgrade, which
applies to CPS' $6.2 billion in taxpayer-backed debt, is likely to
increase borrowing costs at a time when the school district has little
access to cash. CPS still has up to $500 million in short-term credit
that can be used for operating funds, according to a presentation to
prospective bondholders last month." In "Chicago Public Schools debt
also is downgraded to junk status," by Heather Gillers, Chicago
Tribune, 13 May 2015.
[ 4 ]
Addendum of the City of
Chicago Running Out: "...it's clearer with each
ruling — two Supreme Court cases and this one in Cook County — that
governments throughout Illinois are running out of options. State and
local officials have to figure out how they'll function while meeting
these obligations under this constitution. When the city's law passed,
Emanuel said it was constitutional, would protect pensions going forward
and would be a model for other pension funds. Without the changes, he
said, Chicago's funds would face insolvency: 'Without this reform,
these two funds will run out of money in just a matter of years, which
is why we must defend this law to protect the future of our workers,
retirees and taxpayers'." In " Pension doomsday: How will Illinois
pols cope with this crisis?" Editorial Board, Chicago Tribune, 26 July
[ 5 ]
Addendum of China Running
"In an extraordinary move, the People’s Bank of
China has begun lending money to investors to buy shares in the flailing
market. The Wall Street Journal reports this 'liquidity assistance'
will be provided to the regulator-owned China Securities Finance Corp,
which will lend the money to brokerages, which will in turn lend to
investors. The dramatic intervention marks the first time funds from the
central bank have been directed anywhere other than the banks,
signalling serious concern from authorities about the crisis. At the
same time, Chinese authorities are putting a halt to any new stock
listings. The market regulator announced on Friday it would limit
initial public offerings — which disrupt the rest of the market — in an
attempt to curb plunging share prices." In "Chinese chaos worse than
Greece," News/Australia, 7 July 2015. [
Addendum of US Social
Security Running Out:
"Social Security is not sustainable over the
long term at current benefit and tax rates. In 2010, the program
paid more in benefits and expenses than it collected in taxes and other
noninterest income, and the 2014 Trustees Report projects this pattern
to continue for the next 75 years. The Trustees estimate that the
combined OASI and DI trust fund reserves will be depleted by 2033. At
that point, payroll taxes and other income will flow into the fund but
will be sufficient to pay only about 75% of program costs." In "2014
Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and
Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds, Table IV.B1,"
U. S. Social Security Administration, Office of Retirement and
[ 7 ]
Who's gonna pull the welfare wagon
a Western poem, and consider more on:
A Government of Shame
a composer's view
[ 1 ]
The "Bolivarian revolution" was
arrived at via elections. Even so, as with Greece voting for
its socialist government, a government cannot "have an
economy just by pretending it does," in the parlance of the
Washington Post article. One reads from another source:
"Just a month ago, $1 was worth 279 bolivars. That was
already pretty dismal for Venezuela. Now $1 equals 408
bolivars, according to the unofficial exchange rate, which
most Venezuelans get when they try to trade currency. Put
another way, one bolivar equals $0.002 -- less than a penny.
The country's currency has lost nearly half its value
since the beginning of May, according to dolartoday.com,
a website that tracks the unofficial exchange rate." In
"Venezuela's currency isn't worth a penny," by Patrick
Gillespie, CNN, 3 June 2015.
The current Venezuelan currency was named after a historic
revolution against tyranny. "Simón Bolívar, in full Simón
José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios (24
July 1783 – 17 December 1830), was a Venezuelan military and
political leader who played an instrumental role in the
establishment of Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and
Colombia as sovereign states independent of Spanish rule."
(Wikipedia, n.d.) This currency named after a
historical Venezuelan hero is now failing, as the Washington
Post wrote, because the Venezuelan "...government has
destroyed its economy."
The previous president, Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías (1954-2013)
was democratically elected President of Venezuela in
February 1999. He stated of this 21st century Bolivarian
revolution, "We have to re-invent socialism. It can’t be
the kind of socialism that we saw in the Soviet Union, but
it will emerge as we develop new systems that are built on
cooperation, not competition." Hugo Chávez (1954-2013),
in the closing speech at the World Social Forum in Porto
Alegre, Brazil, 31 January 2005.
A short ten years later, the re-invented socialism arrived
at through elections, is failing quickly. Maduro, the
hand-picked successor to Chávez, has jailed opposition
leaders, and continued to blame fascists and U. S.
imperialism (now under the Obama administration) for the
economic chaos. No mention of the "new systems that are
built on cooperation" which were proposed by Chávez and
Maduro to be effective, is being re-examined, because
according to ideologues socialism is not supposed to fail.
For all the blame heaped by the Venezuelan government under
Maduro accusing "fascists" of varying kinds of failures, one
finds economic failure looms in 2015. One reads: "Though
many basic goods and utilities are subsidized or
price-fixed, Venezuelans are increasingly struggling to make
ends meet as price increases gobble up their purchasing
power. 'This is a nightmare,' said Beatriz Quintero, 58, as
she leant on a half-full shopping cart outside a supermarket
and looked aghast at her bill." In "Venezuela's currency
is sinking so fast, its biggest bill is worth just 16 US
pennies," by Alexandra Ulmer, Reuters, 10 July 2015.
Referencing Chávez' romanticized socialist rhetoric just
above which is only ten years in the past, it is being
proven that "new systems that are built on cooperation" of a
Chávez-Maduro sort are not cooperating with the Venezuelan
people "increasingly struggling to make ends meet as price
increases gobble up their purchasing power." One can
review recent history as ordinary citizens
Fled from empty market shelves
- a history lesson.
"We have to re-invent socialism," said the Venezuelan
And for such re-invention, one learns: "The Nicolás
Maduro government is compelling the country’s food producers
to send up to 100 percent of their output to state-owned
distribution centers and stores, in an attempt to solve the
nation’s shortage problems." In "Amid Shortages,
Venezuela Forces All Food Distribution into State Hands,"
by Sabrina Martín, Pan Am Post, 23 July 2015.
One also learns: "Venezuela's public healthcare is
in disarray. Long term underinvestment and neglect has
meant that doctors are warning of a serious crisis in its
public hospitals. I wanted to try to photograph the reality
of what was happening from the inside. It's not a story the
government in Venezuela wants told. There is almost no
official information available about waiting lists,
operating times, or treatment. The government argues that
its critics simply distort any figures they release to make
them look bad." In "Venezuela's hospitals on life support,"
by Betty Laura Zapata, Channel4 UK, 29 July 2015.
While the Maduro government rages against critics, Zapata
notes: "It's not just a lack of medicines that is
making life difficult.
Spiralling inflation, which topped 600 percent in July
2015, has meant that doctors' salaries are now worth less
than £10 per month. The NGO Venezuelan Medical Societies
Network estimates that in the last few years approximately
10,000 medical graduates have left the country. The
government hasn't been short of revenue however: Venezuela
made £1.2 trillion in oil exports in a decade."
Further: "The basket of subsidized food the
government gives her mother every 15 days only feeds her
family for two days. Lately, she only eats a cornmeal patty
for lunch because she can’t afford more. 'I think we’re
going to die of hunger,' she said." In "Venezuela’s
Food Shortages Trigger Long Lines, Hunger and Looting,"
by Maolis Castro and Kejal Vyas, Wall Street Journal, 26
The so-called socialist revision of a Bolivarian revolution
is failing dramatically. But then again, Bolivar foresaw
this two hundred years ago.
"In Caracas party spirit arose in the societies,
assemblies, and popular elections; these parties led us back
into slavery." In " A Letter by Simón Bolívar,"
otherwise known as "Reply of a South American to a Gentleman
of this Island,: Kingston, Jamaica, 6 September 1815.
Translated by Lewis Bertrand in "Selected Writings of
Bolivar," New York: The Colonial Press Inc., 1951.
Chávez' "21st century Bolivarian revolution" has already run
out of so many things, including trust. It has been a lie.
Consider the outright, pseudo-theological stupidity:
Jesus was a socialist?
[ 2 ]
As with the Greek and Venezuelan
elections in which a populace voted for a government unable
to bolster its nation's economy, the theme remains the same:
"Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has won a seventh term
in office, officials say, amid claims of electoral fraud."
In "Zimbabwe President Mugabe re-elected amid fraud claims,"
BBC, 3 August 2013.
How is this for economic incompetence at the national level?
"Zimbabweans can exchange bank accounts of up to 175
quadrillion (175,000,000,000,000,000) Zimbabwean dollars for
five US dollars. Higher balances will be exchanged at a
rate of Z$35 quadrillion to US$1." In "Zimbabwe dollars
phased out," BBC, 12 June 2015.
As with the other governments in this group, "elected"
leaders have led to collapse. One finds the theme played out
in many nations and at many levels. See:
- not sugarcoated.
[ 3 ]
The Argentine people are being hit
ever harder with inflation. One reads: "While consumer
prices rose 24 percent in 2014, according to the government,
private estimates place the figure at almost 40 percent.
The official peso rate weakened 23 percent in 2014, mainly
due to a 19 percent devaluation in January 2014. A black
market for the currency trades at about 12.8 compared with
the official rate of 8.76." In "Argentina Economy Can’t Take
40 Percent Inflation: Massa," by Daniel Cancel, Bloomberg, 7
Similar reports support this picture. "Over the
past decade the peso has tumbled and inflation, the official
statistics on which have been manipulated for years, has
increased sixfold. Despite these drains on Argentines'
purchasing power, Ms Fernández has refused to allow a
higher-value banknote. Today, 100 pesos buys a mere $11 at
the official exchange rate. It fetches only $8 on the black
market, which flourished after 2011 when Ms Fernández
throttled foreign-currency dealings." This erosion of the
peso's value means that banks must handle ever-growing
volumes of cash." In "Low bill, a government in denial over
inflation," The Economist, 11 April 2015.
The current Argentine government argues its case that
repaying debts of former government leaders is immoral.
One reads: "...it would be wrong to pay. 'Foreigners
financed a lot of leaders, like these dictators. They didn't
do what they were supposed to do with the money, and left
future generations the debt,' she says, shaking her
head. 'So, of course, you cannot allow that.' Fernandez is
nearing the end of her term, and it doesn't look like things
will change under the next president. Daniel Scioli, the
front-runner for October elections, vows to carry on the
fight against paying the vultures in full." In "Why
Argentina Consistently, and Unapologetically, Refuses to Pay
Its Debts," by Michael Smith, Bloomberg, 17 July 2015.
The argument seems logical, but the flaw is easily revealed.
"Public" debt loses all meaning, when members of the
"public" declare that they did not sign on to the debt of
previous administrations and therefore do not have a share
in repaying past debts. Applying the logic to any and all
governments, a "public" can easily repudiate any debt,
especially "foreign debt" and argue that funds loaned were
not applied properly; ergo, a public repudiates public debt
of a "previous" government. The result is that investors
will see little sense in lending to a government which will
-- not might, but will -- repudiate the debt. Rather,
investments become the targets of
ready to confiscate.
Without financing beyond the borders of any municipality,
state or nation, that governmental body then relies only on
productivity inside its borders to finance itself. For the
less productive then, collapse becomes the next step. In the
case of Fernandez' Argentina, as above, consequences amass.
"Argentina Economy Can’t Take 40 Percent Inflation."
The other governments in similar circumstances at this time
are in the same predicament. Thankfully for the leaders of
said governments, they live well while they can. Some as
millionaires and others as billionaires, far above the
standard of living of the average citizen. This is because
the citizen will "run out," before the party elite. Such is
the nature of power.
Potential future lenders to governments like these? They
question previous "lenders" who have enjoyed a
A clip job
- the way to legally rob -- with greater and and more
Now how does that seem to a lender like you?
[ 4 ]
The taxpayer-backed debt reported by
the Chicago Tribune in May 2015 was $ 6.2 billion. CPS cites
a larger debt: "The Board of Education currently
has $6.4 billion of outstanding debt." In "Chicago
Public Schools Fiscal Year 2015 Budget," Chicago Public
Schools web site, accessed July 2015.
As to the pension obligations under the union contracts, the
same website notes of their fund: "The funded ratio
decreased from 100 percent in 2001 to 49.7 percent in 2013."
In "Pensions," CPS website.
When one considers governments, municipal and state
governments as well as public school systems are to be
included. Governance is governance. Voter support for
elected officials is a democratic process, as may be seen
from all the above "democratic" governments now so deep in
One may conclude that either voters are become economically
illiterate at this point or believe that money will be found
from outside the borders of their own jurisdiction. One may
also conclude that politicians are become unwilling to act
as fiscal stewards for the citizenry as a whole.
Of the steps towards bankruptcy of Chicago's public school
system and its governors, one reads: "...Gov.
Bruce Rauner said he fears the school district could be
headed toward bankruptcy. The governor’s remarks were
made Tuesday during a conversation with Chicago Public
Education Fund board member Mellody Hobson, according to the
Chicago Sun-Times. Rauner has suggested giving
municipalities the ability to declare bankruptcy in his
turnaround agenda, and a bill has been introduced in the
capital." In "CPS Facing Federal Investigation, Calls For
Bankruptcy," by Nick Blumberg and Kristen Thometz, WTTW
Chicago Tonight, 16 April 2015.
One looks back six months to a local paper's reporting on a
member of the CPS board: "Quazzo’s companies have
gotten an additional $2.9 million in Chicago Public Schools
business in the year and a half since the millionaire
venture capitalist joined the board to fill a vacancy left
by Penny Pritzker when President Barack Obama named Pritzker
commerce secretary. In all, five companies in which
Quazzo has an ownership stake have been paid more than $3.8
million by CPS for ACT prep or online help with reading,
writing and math. One of them stands to collect an
additional $1.6 million this year from a district contract.
Quazzo has continued to invest in the companies doing
business with CPS since her appointment.
She says she sees no conflict of interest between her
roles as a steward of the cash-strapped school system and as
a private investor." In "The Watchdogs: CPS a profitable
investment for Chicago Board of Ed member," by Lauren
FitzPatrick, Chicago Sun-Times, 22 December 2014.
As to Quazzo's predecessor on the Chicago Public School
board, Penny Pritzker, see:
Fat cats richly rich of late
- a comparative and sourced criticism of the nouveau "fair
To gain insight into other billionaires in government,
see the footnote just below.
In the ensuing six months, one finds: "The Chicago
Teachers Union said Tuesday that
the school district is asking teachers to take a 7
percent pay cut in their next contract, an offer that
portends tough negotiations in the weeks to come.." In "CPS
asking teachers to take 7 percent pay cut, union says," by
Juan Perez Jr., Chicago Tribune, 5 May 2015.
Further, one reads: "The district is behind because
its been putting off paying some of these expenses for
years. Instead its come up short on budgets, tapped into its
rainy day fund, and put off contributing to the pension fund."
In "Chicago Public Schools days away from going broke," by
WGN Web Desk and Dana Rebik, WGN TV, Chicago, 22 June 2015.
One might conclude that some school board members, declaring
no conflict of interest, profit handily from the CPS as the
CPS seeks a seven percent payroll cut. Cash-strapped yet
profitable for some, deep in taxpayer-backed debt and and
soon to be bankrupt? The picture clarifies in ways
Chicagoan. But not only Chicagoan, for the political
mismanagement has spread.
The school system is not the only "next" casualty. One
reads: "...Chicago’s unfunded liabilities are 10
times its revenues. 'Just assume that they’re going to have
to pay 5% of that [number annually]. That means you’re
looking at 50% of their cash that will have go to pensions.'
Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Houston and other major
cities will face similar challenges. 'What does it mean
for cities to do this?' Inman asked. 'If that number is 50%,
then $1 has to get you back at least twice the benefits [you
spend]. That’s a very high threshold for city services to
have to meet'." In "Underfunded Pensions: Tackling an
'Invisible' Crisis," Knowledge @ Wharton, University of
Pennsylvania, 26 January 2015.
Later in that article, one learns: "Bailouts
become 'an invitation to repeat the process once again. It
becomes important to send a signal that you are not in this
game helping anybody who gets into trouble'."
Of course this conclusion will be contested by all those who
call for bailouts, because "someone" should pay. Really?
Other American municipalities have been bankrupted, as this
incomplete list details: "Gould, Arkansas
(April, 2008); Vallejo, California (May, 2008); Westfall
Township, Pennsylvania (April, 2009); Washington Park,
Illinois (June, 2009); Pritchard, Alabama (October, 2009);
Central Falls, Rhode Island (Aug., 2011); Boise County,
Idaho (March, 2011); Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (Oct., 2011);
Jefferson County, Alabama (Nov., 2011); Stockton, California
(June, 2012); Mammoth Lakes, California (July, 2012); San
Bernardino, California (August, 2012); Detroit, Michigan
(July, 2013)." In "Which American municipalities have filed
for bankruptcy?" PBS News Hour, 8 February 2014.
The same response has come from all: "we ran out." The
consistent factors are politicians and mismanagement, should
one bother to
connect the dots
[ 5 ]
Other coverage tells some details:
"Mr. Emanuel’s proposed law attempts to shore up nearly $10
billion in unfunded liabilities in two of Chicago’s pensions
by asking workers to accept benefit cuts in return for
the city making higher annual payments. In a written ruling,
Cook County Judge Rita M. Novak said the law 'contains
provisions that diminish' pension benefits for individual
workers, declaring it 'unconstitutional and void'." In "Chicago’s
Pension Overhaul Plan Tossed Out by Judge," by Timothy
W. Martin, Wall Street Journal, 24 July 2015.
The latest version of the Constitution of the State of
Illinois was adopted at special election, 15 December 1970.
The provision in that constitution -- Article XIII, General
Provisions, Section 5: Pension and Retirement Rights" --
reads: "Membership in any pension or retirement system of
the State, any unit of local government or school district,
or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an
enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which
shall not be diminished or impaired."
Thus a city or county law cannot supersede this
Constitutional "right" in Illinois. The state government has
made pension and retirement systems "of the state, and its
units and agencies" unassailable, and in the process created
a right for public employees which other citizens of the
state cannot enjoy but must fund. The servants have become
the masters, at first quietly, and now the state and its
citizens reap the whirlwind of the coming economic mess.
This is ironic, because the Preamble to this 1970
Constitution declares in part the governments'
responsibility include to "maintain a representative and
orderly government; eliminate poverty and inequality...."
Orderly government has been upended with Chicago's and
Chicago Public Schools' government bonds now being "junk,"
their debt unsustainable and an inequality as many public
sector employees take away significantly higher pensions
than most of those found in the public sector. And the whole
Under funding sharks
[ 6 ]
The stunning news that officially
Communist China, as a single party state, is in crisis
should amuse. Why? Because the last century and a half have
featured supposedly "scientific socialism" forward from 1848
as the great new economic principle. It never was such, when
one examines Marx' personal finances and his management of
his own resources. Aside from such seemingly little details,
the idea that a book written in Great Britain by a German
expatriate as worthy of study and its principles worth
emulating is waning now. For a looking back, see:
Capital for Communists
a story growing old.
For the purposes of looking forward, one reads:
"For nearly three years,
President Xi Jinping of China has crushed opposition by
silencing and often locking up anyone who dares defy the
government. But that aura of invincibility has been
shaken by stock market speculators who have made a mockery
of efforts to halt a steep slide in share prices. The losses
— Chinese shares have shed more than a quarter of their
value in three weeks — pose an added risk, and possibly
greater danger, to a global economy grappling with Greece’s
difficulties in repaying foreign loans and its possible exit
from the euro.
About $2.7 trillion in value has evaporated since the
Chinese stock market peaked on June 12. That is six times
Greece’s entire foreign debt, or 11 years of Greece’s
economic output." In "China’s Market Rout Is a Double
Threat," by Keith Bradsher and Chris Buckley, NYTimes, 5
That a Communist, single-party state has a speculative stock
market is itself an anomaly, as if the operators were hoping
capital from outside China would flow in from investors
around the world.
Now, manipulation of this supposed "free" stock market is
required by the same single-party socialist state. One reads
on: "Big market players were given
no choice but to sign up to a government rescue.
Brokerages promised not to sell shares until the Shanghai
market had recovered 4,500 points. They had to reach into
their pockets on the spot for $19bn (£12.2bn) in a
stabilisation fund. All new share issues are suspended
The central bank will provide 'liquidity support', in
other words turn on the lending tap, to help borrowers boost
These emergency measures follow a slew of others over
the course of the past week.
Taken together, they constitute a stunning retreat from
market principles and suggest that at this point, the
government itself has little confidence in its own financial
markets." In "Panic, invincibility and blame in China's
stock market," by Carrie Gracie, BBC, 6 July 2015.
The key here is that the socialist government seeks to
"boost the market" by simple debt, which in the private
sector would encourage borrowing with which to gamble.
One reads further: "Regulators announced Sunday that
make more capital available for an entity that will
allow for even more margin lending, the practice of
borrowing money to buy stocks. Buying on margin is
incredibly risky. Many experts believe the Chinese stock
market's surge earlier this year was partly due to
average investors taking on debt to invest in stocks.
And when stocks first started to fall last month, many of
those investors had to quickly sell their investments to pay
back the loans. That fueled an even bigger drop in stock
prices." In "Greek crisis is nothing compared to China," by
Paul R. La Monica, CNN, 7 July 2015.
One notes no real-market valuation of the stocks
representing companies, many of them state-owned businesses,
and therefore it becomes a game of managers of state-owned
business gambling by taking on debt in order to "play" a
state-controlled stock market.
Yet the story continues: "China’s securities
regulator banned major shareholders, corporate executives
and directors from selling stakes in listed companies for
six months, the latest effort to stop a $3.5 trillion rout
in the nation’s equity market. Investors with stakes
exceeding 5 percent must maintain their positions, the China
Securities Regulatory Commission said in a statement." In
"China Bans Stock Sales by Major Shareholders for Six
Months," by Richard Frost, Bloomberg, 8 July 2015.
When a regulator "bans" stock sales, what is occurring is
more than a market action. It is a command action from
centralized control of an economy.
"The rule is intended to guard capital-market stability amid
an “unreasonable plunge” in share prices, the CSRC
said. While China has already ordered
government-owned institutions to maintain or boost their
stock holdings, the CSRC’s directive expands the ban on
sales to non-state companies and potentially foreign
investors who own major stakes in mainland businesses."
Given that capitalism is supposed to be a free exchange
within a market while socialism is an exchange between
government-controlled and even government-owned entities,
the report is telling. Essentially the central government is
ordering its owned entities to "maintain or boost" in hopes
of attracting "non-state companies and potentially foreign
investors." The Sino-Socialist central command is looking
for more capital, when in fact it could order its own
national bank to issue more money. This suggests even the
currency's relative value itself is being manipulated.
"Unreasonable" is a central command attempting capital
controls to create the image of a free and prosperous
In short order, one finds: "Over 700 Chinese
companies have halted trading to "self preserve," according
to the state media. That means about a quarter of the
companies listed on China's two big exchanges -- the
Shanghai and Shenzhen -- are no longer trading. China's
stock markets are in trouble." In "Nearly 25% of Chinese
stocks have stopped trading," by Heather Long, CNN, 7 July
A comparison was drawn in an editorial: "Trading
halts add to China’s Potemkin market problem. Boom, bust
and bailout are already making it hard for outsiders to take
Chinese stocks seriously. An extraordinary slew of trading
halts, trapping investors in hundreds of stocks, makes
things worse. Bosses and bourses are buying temporary
respite at the cost of their own credibility." In "Trade
halts add to China’s Potemkin market problem," by Quentin
Webb, Reuters, 9 July 2015.
And then: "...having gone all in, the Chinese
government can't stop now, and after pledging half a
trillion for its Plunge Protection Team (recall
China skipped all the QE pleasantries and proceeded
straight to buying stocks, launching a quasi-nationalization
of the market and making the China Securities Finance Corp a
Top 10 shareholder of numerous stocks), it will be
forced to do even more, in the process crushing confidence
that much more, since investors both offshore and domestic,
realize that the fair value of stocks is far lower than
current price ex. government intervention." In "Chinese
Stocks Suffer Second Biggest Crash In History, 1,500
Companies Halted Limit Down," by Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge,
27 July 2015.
The term seems apt. "The phrase "Potemkin village"
(also "Potyomkin village", derived from the Russian:
Потёмкинские деревни, Potyomkinskiye derevni) was originally
used to describe a fake portable village, built only to
impress. According to the story, Grigory Potemkin
erected the fake portable settlement along the banks of the
Dnieper River in order to fool Empress Catherine II
during her journey to Crimea in 1787. The phrase is now
used, typically in politics and economics, to describe any
construction (literal or figurative)
built solely to deceive others into thinking that some
situation is better than it really is. Some modern
historians claim the original story is exaggerated."
Wikipedia, n. d.
The official Chinese Communist government has sought to
offer people, and therefore capital, worldwide the
impression that their market is "free" and operating like
other Western stock markets, with the intent to raise
capital for some enterprise(s). Given that many of the
listed companies on the Chinese market are indeed
state-owned, this is a contradiction in terms, and so very
likely "built solely to deceive." The world reads media
proclaiming that capitalism has failed, when in fact the
pretense of capitalism as practiced by socialist governments
The single-party Chinese state is not capitalist. But one
reads: "The spectacle of a communist regime trying to
jack up a casino-like capitalist market is just one of the
many contradictions that have been accumulating in almost
every corner of China’s economy and politics. And now, their
weight is perhaps becoming too heavy for the Party hierarchy
to bear. Indeed, the composition of the CCP is itself a
The revolutionary party of peasants and workers is now
dominated by businessmen, college students, and
professionals. One-third of the people listed in the Hurun
Report, the Shanghai-based monitor of China’s wealthiest
people, are Party members. The average wealth of the richest
70 members of the National People’s Congress, China’s
parliament, far exceeds $1 billion." In "The
Contradictions of China’s Communist Capitalism," by Pranab
Bardhan, Project Syndicate, 16 July 2015.
Rather than describing these 70 members as capitalist
alongside being Communist (Sino-Socialist), it is clear that
the Party hierarchy is enormously wealthy, though preaching
a socialist doctrine, just as other single-party states have
been. That "dictatorship of the proletariat" has proven
again and again a power and wealth making device for
Even so, Bardhan notes: "What the CCP refuses to
recognize is that
corruption cannot be rooted out as long as the Party
maintains its monopoly on political power; with no organized
opposition or functioning civil-society institutions,
officials will continue to use their positions of public
authority as a vehicle to generate personal wealth. The
Third Plenum of the 18th Party Congress gave primacy to the
principle of market competition; but, as a senior Chinese
banker commented in a related context some years back:
'It’s quite hard to compete when you’re playing against
Thus in the eyes of the world single-party rule becomes all
too easily synonymous with corruption, because it begins
with the corruption of power itself, and extends to that
corruption which easily explains how the socialist
government is led by new billionaires.
But this is based on that Potemkin village which has been
constructed and supported by socialist enthusiasts around
the world as well as that "Plunge Protection Team," who fail
to notice the billion Chinese who are poor according to
Western standards of income and wealth. Rich Communist
leaders and a Potemkin-like stock market? The picture is
plain, and mid-2015 this stock market experiences the panic
of various forms of capital control as the mechanisms of
capital correction menace "China's Communist Capitalism," as
Bardhan terms it. While China's state-controlled stock
market remains above its historical lows, the image
presented to real foreign investors with real currency funds
is eroding, the pretense intended to lure them in being
clearly seen now. Markets are not about control but rather
competition, as about wins but also losses. That which
succeeds simply succeeds and that which fails simply loses.
Which losers in this particular game will blame capitalism
in a Communist, single party state? Perhaps like the Union
of Soviet Socialist Republics, China's one-party Potemkin
state is quickly finding itself
Freshly out of options
[ 7 ]
The unambiguous statement by the
government agency in charge is cited, because the political
sides of American politics play predictable angles in the
conclusion of this agency's report. Basic arithmetic and
clear calculations are remarkable stubborn to obscure with
political prose. It is simply a matter of blindly
Doing the math
- blindly on politics' path.
There's a fad - the good
with the bad
There's a fad! Let's jump for joy!
Let's go for it,
leaping both feet first!
Out with the old and in with the new,
Electing all best, even the worst.
It's new! It's edgy! It's all the rage!
Into an unknown immersed!
Each fashionable fancy's on parade!
For nouveau's novelty's a
There's a craze! That next craziest craze,
Which onto life's
stages has burst.
Mania's modish mangling mush
Is so vogue, so
There's a fad! Let's leap, not look!
Let's grab at it, diving
Out with the lame, and in with what's next!
wounds can later be nursed.
stir the pot
stir the pot
of slogan soup
from changing loop
to say what is
once was not
and what once
words the world
with terminal terminology
as the pot is season swirled
with slogans rich
and flavor it
with boast and bitch
for this world's
scratched new terms
which tremble, twitch
when meaning's tossed
and tumbled round
to twist the world
until it's bound
of slogan soup
served bright cool hot
a reddened goop
what shall it mean
served ladled fresh
by a nincompoop
who makes it up
he goes along
for ever changing
is his slogan song
"It seems equally certain that Schoenberg, who
conducted the concert, disliked Berg's songs. This disapproval from
his beloved teacher, and the disastrous public reception of his first
orchestral work, wounded Berg's feelings so deeply that he never again
tried to get a performance for them, although he did publish Song V as a
piano-vocal in 1921. It seems easy to speculate that, if circumstances
had been more favorable, Berg would eventually prepared a definitive
fair copy of the orchestral score for publication and seen it through
the engraving and proof stages for printing." In "Preface," Fünf
Orchesterlieder (Berg), Universal Edition, 1997.
Disapproval? Step right up.
That is the
way of art.
They say it isn't but it is,
And has been from the
The answer is to persevere
wish you ill.
What is art but life's pursuit
In sinews of artistic
Wait for approval? Tick then tock,
grinds away the approving clock.
Much approved in time now past
Lost its grip on approval's lock.
Critics? All words, some smear.
Seek nothing more than
The doing without the fear.
words and speak the rhymes
Sing the words and speak the rhymes.
Aloud do words sting ringing chimes.
Chant and carol, chirp and
Speak into thought a daffodil.
Declaim the claim, and utter loud
aside the unvoiced cloud.
Light flares bright when uttered quite
In words of speech and songs' delight.
Speak the rhymes and sing the
Giving flight to wingless birds.
Being speaks sung utterance
lines and played descants.
Words well sung, as words in speech,
Deeply into all men reach.
Jack and Jill
Jack and Jill went up the hill
To pitch their pail of
Jack turned Jill, and Jill turned Jack
As fluids spun in a
Jill Jack was, and this because,
As scripts the plot, he'd got
Reassigned or misaligned?
The juggernaut then twisted
Jill, now Jack, had lost her knack;
No baby Jill went up the
The he and she of infertility
Did then distill their barren
Everything is bias
Everything is bias, except my very own,
for I am left to show
no bias, none at all.
Everything's subjective, except my fitting
which I crow as you'll find in
my stated protocol.
There are no standards is my most standard line
for I alone adjudicate,
if only you'd recall.
My web of solipsism nets any and everything
and if you seek escape, it is me
who'd denounce your errant fall.
Everything and anything, as all
things round my center,
speak singularly subjectively.
Now won't you heed my call?
Everything will be bias, except my very
for I am left to lie about,
no bias, no, none at all.
Addendum of the Missing:
"There were themes of profound importance to me which I
missing in the orthodox histories that dominated American
culture. The consequence of those admissions has been not simply to give
a distorted view of the past but, more important, to mislead us all
about the present." In "A People's History of the United States,
1492-Present," Howard Zinn, Harper Perennial, 1980, 2001.
Addendum of the Many Dead by
"...many researchers in international relations and
comparative government are convinced of freedom’s power for peace, and
top American leaders are now basing foreign policy on it, there is a
vast ignorance of this solution to violence among the general public.
Realizing that entertainment is one of the best ways of conveying
knowledge,I hope this 'Never Again' series will help fill this void. In
addition, there is also a black hole in general knowledge about how
many people have been murdered by governments. Probably about
170,000,000 from 1900 to 1987, as John taught. This is almost five times
as many as were killed in combat in all international and domestic wars
over the same period.
The number murdered would head to toe circle the earth about four
times." In "Never Again," R. J. Rummel, Llumina Press, 2004.
[ 1 ]
Addendum of Historical
Materialism: ""In the social production of their
existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are
independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to
a given stage in the development of their material forces of production.
The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic
structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and
political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of
consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the
general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not
the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their
social existence that determines their consciousness." In "Preface,"
to "A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy," Karl Marx,
[ 2 ]
[ 1 ]
While the modern and now orthodox (for
its popularity in academia) "people's history" of Zinn
speaks of distorted views of the past and things missing in
written histories, his is errant too. It must be because, at
the minimum, the vast nature of the subject. Rummel
tabulated what he terms "democide" - the murder of a people
by their own governments -- and in this he presents a more
complete picture of the histories of many peoples with far
less anecdotal evidence.
While Zinn's history critical of America depicts a look back
at his orthodoxy of genocide as well racial and class
struggle, Rummel's numerical tabulation shows a far more
murderous history of governments -- plural -- throughout a
swath of history proving that it is power and wealth which
accumulates under such ostensibly opposite monikers as
capitalism and socialism, per se. In fact, the two most
murderous governments of the 20th century were, in order,
the Sino-Socialist government of China and the Union of
Soviet Socialist Republics, especially under Stalin. The
atrocities of Hitler's National Socialist come in third in
this horrific compilation of those "murdered by government,"
as Rummel phrases it.
Zinn misses this, for his "people's history" focused on the
United States and its admitted faults is a distant runner up
to "five times as many... as were killed in combat in all
international and domestic wars over the same period." Bias
in focus is evident then, but to what end? For one historian
it is the desire to focus on some parts of history while
turning aside from others.
It is in fact partisan. One reads: "History, by its
nature, is always a selection out of the past of an enormous
amount of data. What you select out of that data to present
in a book or a lecture suggests what your point of view is.
The selection is inevitably partisan. You select things
that are unprovocative and harmless or the facts of history
that will really provoke thinking and action." In
"Howard Zinn on Making History," by Judith Orr, Socialist
Review, June 2007.
[ 2 ]
One should note the proponent of the
famous "dictatorship of the proletariat" painted a picture
of "the consciousness of men" -- our consciousness -- as
determined by their "social existence," one may rub Marx and
Rummel together to conclude with as little bias as is
possible that an estimated 170 million people and their
"social existence" were eradicated by other men and their
"social existence." The commonality was grasping at power
and wealth, and the largest measure was under the rubric of
socialist theory and practice.
Socialists love money
Capital for Communists
a story growing old.
Thus one finds the bias of a "people's history" is not only
partisan, per the above, but in the case of social existence
theory, distinctly Marxist.
"People should not be retreating from the word socialism.
You have more and more people talking about it because you
have to go beyond capitalism. Capitalism has failed. And for
those people who think, oh socialism means bureaucracy or
socialism means centralization, no. Socialism is open to
various forms. But the fundamental principle in socialism is
production for use and not for profit. I remember learning
that expression: an economic system for use, for human
beings and not for profit." In "You have to go beyond
capitalism," Howard Zinn interviewed by Dave Zirin,
International socialist Review, Issue 66, July 2009.
People before profits
This becomes amusing because profit from book sales at
Harper Collins funds "A People's History of the United
States," as to profits redistributed in the form of taxes
under government authority fund college history professors
teaching "not for profit" theories. This becomes all the
more ironic given that Rummel's texts and research were made
available free while Zinn's texts and research are marketed
-- for profit. Socialism is "open to various forms," opines
Zinn, as long as socialists make profits which they can
declare not profit.
So lips schism, and men's supposed "social existence...
determines their consciousness." Were this in any way true
and social existence actually would determine consciousness,
then all would think along the same political lines. Alas,
this is untrue, though such a lovely expression of
"scientific socialism." Else, all the committed political
theorist or historian need do for today is point to that
nation, government or society which has proven a theory
rooted in 19th century romanticism.
The next historian need then document where exactly "not for
profit" functions in human society. It certainly has not
been in officially socialist nations. Yet the call is
zealous, even today orthodox among the academics. One reads,
"No doubt, many or most of those drawn to socialism felt
some sense of humane idealism, but its demands were
deflected outward onto society as a whole. If this is what
made the religion of socialism so attractive, it also
explains what made it so destructive. Religion is
ubiquitous, reaching far back into the human dawn...."
In " Heaven on Earth: the Rise and Fall of Socialism,"
Joshua Muravchik, Encounter Books, 2002.
The pretense by Marx as by other like Owen that socialism is
somehow scientific is fallacious. Else Rummel's documented
numbers of people murdered by their own governments --
including officially socialist governments -- would be
explained somehow by capitalism failing, or by social
existence determining social consciousness. Rather
historical materialism has failed. Muravchick notes: "Engels
and Marx replaced experimental socialism with prophetic
socialism, and claimed thereby to have progressed from
utopia to science." Yet, the science of Rummel's very
basic and comprehensive data collection speaks not to utopia
turned to science but scientific socialism having bred the
most murderous governments of the last century. A history
which fails to observe this is not history but political
polemic. The assertion that socialism has become a
science has but one lasting effect: it demands that it no
longer be called into question. Thus it has become "the
religion of socialism." With only that approved of bias
which purport to correct a "distorted view of the past" by
ignoring so much of it.
observation that there is a "black hole in general
knowledge about how many people have been murdered by
governments" speaks directly to that historian who will
critique America's historical sins by proposing the one most
murderous governmental system of the last century -- the
dictatorship of the proletariat -- as antidote to historical
paraphrase of a text by Theodor
It is now at last appeared
In green buds bursting
»It came, it came with silent stealth,«
Nods each now
All could barely wait for this,
As now bright shoots are
In a garden an gnarled apple tree,
Though reluctant, is so
Hesitates too the hoary heart
When breath is struggling
It fears and rues: »'Tis only March,
And March is not yet in
O shake off that dreary dream,
And old winter's frigid sleep,
Spring urges on the old apple tree,
Heart, you've spring's quest
Do not laugh -
paraphrase of a text by Wilhelm
Do not laugh, if through the years
Love and kindness
What happened to our little Pauline
Can also happen to you.
Look and see the changes
In that dear old kitchen broom.
which softly swept all clean,
Is soon rough and bent with gloom.
I am traveled -
paraphrase of a text by Hans Bötticher
I am traveled through sorrow and woe
From far, so far
and long ago.
My heart is worn: I neither see nor know
once resplendent youth filled show.
That pathway back will I nevermore find,
Already to ashen age am
To then one path must I be resigned,
gate am I thus consigned.
Oh, what a
tangled web we weave
Oh, what a tangled web we weave
When 'we're so
smart's' what we believe.
Some things we simply will not perceive;
Among them man's will to other men deceive.
When tangling webs tangle, the tanglers grieve
As in tangling
self-caught, they've proven naive.
When opposite reactions
Still tanglers urge on their make-believe.
FAB = - FBA
The snake sheds its skin to find within
it's an older snake with the same old grin.
The snake, it's said,
sparked original sin,
and snaking through time are its sinning kin.
Men spin stories like
snakes shed skin;
rarely men, like snakes, show any chagrin.
When your argument's
When your argument's weak, the desk you'll pound and
thunder loud as to expound
thousands of words when a picture would do, excepting its truth well
arrayed against you.
In the heat of the battle, you'll heat your words to hurl them as if
would gather and grouse and dive and tear, because losing your argument
is deemed unfair.
When your argument's poor, the greatest of speech becomes little
more than an insipid screech,
that of someone with a losing cause who'd sharpen the longest,
rather than admit the argument's dulled, and accurate rebuttal is
too easily culled
directly from details in that losing cause which never, never ever
should be allowed pause
to abandon the field to a victor so slight as the truth against
which you intended to fight.
Some things are just what they really are, no argument changes reality's
Measure yourself by a shifting rule, and you tally up to a shiftless
Man's scheme is longer than millennia's count and it's foolish great
wisdoms to today discount.
The lessons insist on being learned yet again as men make a habit of
when they mount up an argument with vanity's tongue which tastes then
discovers vanity's dung.
History's not written by winners nor fools, nor by losers nor by
History is what, when the rhetoric dies, all arguments wither when
seeing past lies.
Addendum of a Weak Argument
"State-run health insurance markets that offer coverage
under President Barack Obama's health law are
struggling with high costs and disappointing enrollment. These
challenges could lead more of them to turn over operations to the
federal government or join forces with other states.
Hawaii's marketplace, the latest cautionary tale, was awarded $205
million in federal startup grants. It has spent about $139 million and
enrolled 8,200 customers for individual coverage in 2015. Unable to
sustain itself, the state marketplace is turning over sign-ups to the
federal HealthCare.gov for 2016." In "State health insurance markets
struggle with cost challenges," by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated
Press, 26 July 2015
[ 1 ]
[ 1 ]
Prose carries messages of political
visions of success and words of "struggle" and
"disappointment." From the data above for Hawaii's
unsustainable "marketplace," one learns the per capita cost
of enrollment and administration. $139 million / 8,200
customers = $16,951.22 per customer.
What "marketplace" spends $16K per customer to open a
market? Is not a market a place to at least break even, if
not profit to some degree? What investment is willing to
risk and then lose $16K per client?
One looks back at the political promise: "During his
first run for president,
Barack Obama made one very specific promise to voters: He
would cut health insurance premiums for families by $2,500,
and do so in his first term. But it turns out that
family premiums have increased by more than $3,000 since
Obama's vow, according to the latest annual Kaiser Family
Foundation employee health benefits survey. Premiums for
employer-provided family coverage rose $3,065 — 24% — from
2008 to 2012, the Kaiser survey found. Even if you start
counting in 2009, premiums have climbed $2,370." In "Health
Premiums Up $3,065; Obama Vowed $2,500 Cut,"
Yahoo/Finance, 24 September 2012.
The differential between the political vision of success and
the numerical words of reality are apparent and no longer an
argument worth having. $5,565 in no weak
argument, but proof that a seemingly strong political
argument was nothing but words.
'The experts say' is an empty phrase
which names no names to check.
'Most experts say' is tossed about
because -- well -- what the heck.
Without a name, 'the experts say'
allows no trails nor seeds.
Without a way to double check
'the experts say' misleads.
Opinions wise, 'the experts say,'
are this, but wait, then that.
'The experts say,' experts agree,
is journalistic chat
To assert without a name to cite,
to palm an ace's rhetorical flight,
to bandy the unnamed unknowable
as if seen with clearest sight.
Contentiously contend, the circled
lead nowhere but to themselves,
this is what 'most experts say,'
when into no names no one delves.
'Experts say,' and then 'they'
and then 'they' rally round,
And then 'they' dictate, broach no
for that's what such 'experts' expound.
'Experts say' that you are not
among their exalted class,
And for this assertion you should know
each unnamed expert is an ass,
and those who say 'the experts say'
should not be given pass
To pass off bunkum as great depth
'as experts say' is said.
When one hears 'the experts say,'
then plan on being plain misled.
Addendum of Being Beyond the
Point of No Return:
"Many experts say we have to start seriously
reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2015, or we may [
1 ] pass a point of no return."
In "'Earth 2100': the Final Century of Civilization?" by Alexa Danner,
ABC News, 29 May 2009.
Addendum of Expert Opposites:
"In an effort to offer balance—and to entertain viewers with a lively
verbal jousting match—news outlets lined up people with opposing views.
In one corner were health experts who supported the vaccine. In the
other were charismatic quacks or parents who were utterly convinced that
the vaccine had made their children autistic (and whose genuine grief
swayed many viewers). In America minor celebrities have joined this
mix." In "What experts say, and what people hear," by N. L.,
Economist, 5 February 2015.
Addendum of Could Have:
"A decade after hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, experts say the
flooding that caused over 1,800 deaths and billions of dollars in
property damage could have been prevented had the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers retained an external review board to double-check its
flood-wall designs." In "Flood damage after Hurricane Katrina could
have been prevented, experts say." Missouri University of Science
and Technology, in Science Daily, 24 August 2015.
Addendum of Expert Inanity:
"WIT is adamant that there’s no immediate danger,
however. 'Currently, solar panels are an energy niche, and do not pose a
serious risk to the sun. But if we converted our grids to solar energy
in a big way, with panels on domestic homes and commercial businesses,
and paving our parking lots with panels, we’d start seeing very serious
problems over time. If every home in the world had solar panels on
their roofs, global temperatures would drop by as much as thirty degrees
over twenty years, and the sun could die out within three hundred to
four hundred years'." In "Solar Panels Drain the Sun’s Energy,
Experts Say," by Matt Rock, National Report, 29 December 2014.
[ 2 ]
Addendum of Experts Saying
Stock Prices Go Up and Down: "The opposing forces
of economic sentiment that briefly drove U.S. stocks down more than
1,000 points in early trading Monday, then took investors on a wild
roller-coaster ride for the remainder of the session, were hardly
dissipated by their exertions, most experts say." In "Stock
Markets' Wild Ride Likely Just the Beginning, Experts Say," by
Mike Brunker, NBC News, 25 August 2015.
[ 3 ]
of Expert Perspectives: "That is one
perspective. Here's another." In "China Is Weak And Bloated By
Government Investment, Experts Say," Steve Inskeep interview of
Anne Stevenson-Yang," National Public Radio, 21 August 2015.
[ 4 ]
[ 1 ] "...we may
pass the point of no return." Or we might not.
Apparently the media is not expert enough to report the
clarity of experts sure enough to assert something outright
without the use of those clever words,
Could and May
- an up-to-date play.
[ 2 ] Yup, solar
panels are going to kill off the sun, experts say, "within
three hundred to four hundred years." One should often
For some, that apocalypse is coming soon, and for a variety
[ 3 ] When have
stock and bond prices not fluctuated, and when the
fluctuations have been greater than normal, when have the
experts not used the descriptor, "roller-coaster?" Sometimes
All the news is screaming
One might also consider the roller-coaster of global
temperatures over millions of years, when considering
sung to the children's tune, "Baa, baa black
sheep." Experts say many things, and other experts say many things,
[ 4 ] One may be
assured that other experts say, "here's another
perspective," and then another, and then.... So many
perspectives and so little time. Of that experts say, it is
prudent to think perhaps
It's too good to be true
- this applies to you.
People deal with hardships,
Hardships to overcome;
Yet life itself is deadly,
And so we must succumb.
Given basic truth like this,
Truth urges -- struggle well,
in the struggle good things bloom,
On our wiggly-woggled carousel.
Guarantees are fictions,
In the largest scheme of things,
of this one may be guaranteed,
That out from struggles life still
Pleas, no thank you
The budget season's coming 'round;
To pry wide open wallets' folds
With loudly shrieking
It is the season to
But much that
ails is the budget game,
And its appetite never fails.
More and more, comes the cry;
worst is yet to come,
For truly what would be the worst
smaller budget, so say some.
The budget season's bursting wide
Its imagery of grief and doom,
With the only answer, as ere was,
For more is what they would consume.
Pleas, no thank you, more must
Is the cycle's turns in time,
For thanks is never quite
As the seasons' budgets climb.
Let them in.
Sit awhile and chat.
Tick tocks the clock;
Traced to this and that.
Some structure forms,
As it must,
Rooting to the whole.
What comes informs,
Up from dust
Where sweet sings the soul.
Heed said arc.
Watch and keen observe.
What would you more?
Strike the spark,
Passion will well serve.
Guard them well,
Nurtured as they grow.
Of this day's work,
Time will tell
Through time's afterglow.
Some sounding shape of melody tumbles
Rhythm leaps or stumbles
As a structured scheme
As to charm or to irritate,
Entertain or twist a tale,
By leaps and
The members on a scale.
One and many, all conspire
As cascades the sounding thing
climb, to soar, to shriek and laugh
To scratch, blow, hit and sing.
Sounding shapes a tuneful thought
in it ways,
And overjoyed shall I be
For this throughout my days.
If you find your
"It is especially strange that this conformism claims
to speak in the name of freedom, when in fact it doesn’t much like
freedom at all. I suggest that we actually think about this." In
"The sinister, screeching mob who want to kill free speech (And no, I
DON'T mean the Islamist terrorists in our midst)," by Peter Hitchens,
Daily Mail UK, 11 January 214.
If you find your conformity
in your world,
then your freedom well might be
well snuffed for being furled.
If you feel your
becoming shackles, chains which bind,
feel free and break them gleefully
standards wide unwind.
If in freedom's march you fall
as conformists act
out conformists' rage,
you will not have vainly fallen,
is a step on history's freedom page.
When you've found conformity
is required of your
you have stumbled into that tyranny
with which conformity is rife.
If you find your conformity,
consider well where it
freedom chafes when in a bind
and will conformity not accept.
"A fantastic thing is happening in our world. Today a man is no longer
punished only for the crimes he has in fact committed.
Now he may be compelled to confess to crimes that have been conjured
up by his judges, who use his confession for political purposes. It
is not enough for us to damn as evil those who sit in judgment. We must
understand what impels the false admission of guilt; we must take
another look at the human mind in all its frailty and vulnerability." In
"The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and
Brainwashing," Joost A. M. Meerloo, M.D., Progressive Press, 2009 (first
published in 1956).
Do not just hold a vigil
"With explosions and gunfire, security forces Friday
ended three days of terror around Paris, killing the two
al-Qaida-linked brothers who staged a murderous rampage at a
satirical newspaper and an accomplice who seized hostages at a kosher
supermarket to try to help the brothers escape. The worst terrorist
violence France has seen in decades killed at least 20 people, including
the three gunmen. A fourth suspect — the common law wife of the market
attacker — was still at large and believed to be armed.
Al-Qaida's branch in Yemen said it directed the attack against the
publication Charlie Hebdo to avenge the honor of the Prophet Muhammad, a
frequent target of the weekly's satire." In "French security forces
kill gunmen, end terror rampage," by Lori Hinnant and Elaine Ganley,
Associated Press, 9 January 2015.
[ 1 ]
Do not just hold a vigil
While there's gunfire at your
Do not just bring a candle
Against the windy gunfire roar.
Do not just gush with feeling
When actions must loud speak.
not stand firm on principle
Which saps to make you weak.
There are times and places
When violence in return
Is what the
fates have ordered
Even should that world burn.
Fight or flee, they both are us
When choice might chosen be,
But fighting is all that one has
When one simply cannot flee.
Striking back against a strike
Is physics, reactions' fists.
Sometimes one must just strike back
For by this proud life exists.
Do not just cry with anguish
And think this answers
Do not stand on said principle
Which brings you to your
Yes, hold the vigil also
Against grim terror at your
You'll need more than a candle
To survive the well-fought war.
"These battles cannot be viewed in any case whatsoever as isolated
battles, but rather,
as part of a chain of the long, fierce, and ugly crusader war.
Every Muslim must stand under the banner of There is no God but Allah
and Muhammad is God's Prophet." In "Bin Laden rails against Crusaders
and UN," BBC, 2 November 2001.
[ 2 ]
Addendum of a Comic's Serious
"We have to stop saying when something like this that
happened in Paris today, we have to stop saying, well, we should not
insult a great religion. First of all, there are no great religions.
They're all stupid and dangerous. And we should insult them and we
should be able to insult whatever we want. That is what free speech is
like. There are certain people in the world who want wafers on free
speech. Kim Jong- un in North Korea says you cannot make jokes about our
country, and there's a lot of Muslim people in the world. I know most
Muslim people would not have carried out an attack like this. But here's
the important point. Hundreds of millions of them support an attack like
this. They applaud an attack like this. What they say is,
we don't approve of violence, but you know what, when you make fun of
the prophet, all bets are off." In "Bill Maher on Paris: 'This Is
Like Groundhog Day, Except If The Groundhog Kept Getting His Head Cut
Off'," RealClearPolitics, 8 January 2015.
Addendum of a Historian's
"...the freedom to write history without intimidation was no
longer something that I took for granted. But I also had learned that it
was possible, when my work came under attack, to defend it without
yielding to threats. I have not changed my mind. My experience did not
remotely approach the horror of the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, but just
as its staff were willing to die in defense of what they saw as the
legacy of Diderot, so should historians be conscious of what is at stake
in defense of the legacy of Gibbon.
Compared with satirists and polemicists, we stand a good way back
from the front line, but none of us should be in any doubt that we are
in the same fight." In "When I Questioned the History of Muhammad,
British scholar Tom Holland found himself in a firestorm—and under
threat—when he raised doubts about the traditional account of the
origins of Islam," by Tom Holland, Wall Street Journal, 9 January 2015.
Addendum of Probable Gross
and Shameful Capitulation:
"Now a secondary result of the Hebdo bombings has been
a move by our society to censor itself in ways it wasn't willing to
before the attacks. Beyond all of that, the publish-or-not issue is a
controversy only an intellectual could talk himself into. There’s been
talk, both before the Hebdo attacks and since, that the cartoons were
'silly provocations' (this was Le Figaro's pre-attack judgment) and that
other similar satires were just so much 'oil on the fire' (this was what
French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said, also prior to the attack).
The implication is that, yes, we have a right to be offensive, but
let's not be offensive this time, maybe just this once, because — and
this is the part that's usually not said out loud — this particular
group of satire targets is more than unusually violent and nuts and
struggles more even than the average fundamentalist on the sense of
humor front. That point of view is a gross and shameful capitulation."
In "Cartoons Are Worth Fighting For," by Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, 8
Addendum of the Declared War
"The deadly attacks in Paris serve as a vivid reminder
that jihadists are at war with those they disagree with, and the
world must confront them, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
said on Thursday. 'The international jihadist movement has declared
war. They have declared war on anybody who does not think and act
exactly as they wish they'd think and act,' Harper told reporters when
asked about Wednesday's attack." In "Jihadists have declared war, world
must respond: Canada's Harper," by Julie Gordon, Reuters, 8 January
[ 3 ]
Addendum of a Charlie
Hebdo Editorial on the Jihadists' Way: "The
first task of the guilty is to blame the innocent. It's an almost
perfect inversion of culpability. From the bakery that forbids you
to eat what you like, to the woman who forbids you to admit that you are
troubled by her veil, we are submerged in guilt for permitting ourselves
such thoughts. And that is where and when fear has started its sapping,
undermining work. And the way is marked for all that will follow."
In "How did we end up here?" a Charlie Hebdo editorial, 30 March 2016.
Addendum of the Call for a
Revolution against Extremism in Islam: "Egyptian
President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has called for a 'religious revolution,'
asking Muslim leaders to help in the fight against extremism. In a
speech celebrating the birthday of the Prophet Muḥammad, which coincided
with New Year's Day, he said they had no time to lose. 'I say and
repeat, again, that we are in need of a religious revolution. You imams
are responsible before Allah. The entire world is waiting on you. The
entire world is waiting for your word ... because the Islamic world is
being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost. And it is being
lost by our own hands,' el-Sisi said." In "Egypt's President calls
for a 'religious revolution'," by Dana Ford, Salma Abdelaziz and Ian
Lee, CNN, 6 January 2015.
[ 4 ]
Addendum of a Cartoonist
Scorning New Friends:
"A prominent Dutch cartoonist at Charlie Hebdo heaped scorn on the
French satirical weekly's 'new friends' since the massacre at its Paris
offices on Wednesday. 'We have a lot of new friends, like the pope,
Queen Elizabeth and (Russian President Vladimir) Putin. It really makes
me laugh,' Bernard Holtrop, whose pen name is Willem, told the Dutch
centre-left daily Volkskrant in an interview published today. France's
far-right National Front leader 'Marine Le Pen is delighted when the
Islamists start shooting all over the place,' said Willem, 73, a
long-time Paris resident who also draws for the French leftist daily
Liberation. He added: 'We vomit on all these people who suddenly say
they are our friends'." In "‘We vomit’ on Charlie Hebdo’s sudden
friends, staff cartoonist says," Agence France Presse via Malay
Mail, 10 January 2015.
[ 5 ]
Addendum Asking To Whom the
" If the future does not belong to those who slander the
prophet of Islam—in other words, to people who speak freely and
offensively—then it belongs to those who would suppress by force any
criticism of religion. This is not an American idea, and it certainly
isn’t Charlie." In "We Are Not All Charlie," by Jeffrey Goldberg,
Atlantic, 8 January 2015.
[ 6 ]
Addendum of Modern Schisms in
Islam: "Al-Qaida and the Islamic State group
roughly take elements from two relatively modern strands. One is the
Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood thinker Sayed Qutb, with its tenets
that Muslim society has fallen from faith and violent jihad must be
waged to bring 'God's rule.' The other is
Wahhabism, a reform movement with a strict, literal and
uncompromising interpretation of texts aimed at purging Islam of
innovations. Wahhabism became the official doctrine of Saudi Arabia,
which has promoted it around the Muslim world. State religious
institutions across the region, meanwhile, are widely criticized as
stagnant. Government control has undermined their credibility among both
liberal Muslims and militants. That was clear when Saudi Arabia's top
religious body, the Council of Senior Scholars, condemned the Paris
attack and called it 'unacceptable under any justification.' That
prompted a torrent of derision on Twitter from militant sympathizers who
accused the clerics of doing the bidding of the U.S.-allied Saudi
monarchy and protecting those who insult Muhammad. 'The masks fall and
reveal those who lick the boots of dictators,' one proclaimed." In "Violence
fuels debate among Muslims over interpreting faith," by Lee Keath,
Associated Press (Cairo) 10 January 2015.
Addendum Wondering If a
Muslim Can Be an Islamophobe: "'It is
incomprehensible that you can turn against freedom,' Mayor Aboutaleb
told Dutch current affairs program Nieuwsuur (Newshour). 'But if you
don't like freedom, for heaven's sake pack your bags and leave.
If you do not like it here because some humorists you don't like are
making a newspaper, may I then say you can f*** off. This is stupid,
this so incomprehensible. Vanish from the Netherlands if you cannot
find your place here. All those well-meaning Muslims here will now be
stared at'." In "Moroccan-born mayor of Rotterdam tells fellow Muslims
who do not appreciate the 'freedoms' of living in the West to 'pack your
bags and f*** off' on live TV," by Sara Malm, Daily Mail UK, 13 January
Addendum of the Marketing
Windfall: "On Wednesday, the new issue vanished
from kiosks immediately. Some newsstand operators said they expected
more copies to arrive on Thursday. One kiosk near the Champs Elysees,
open at 6 a.m., was sold out by 6:05. Another, near Saint-Lazar,
reported fisticuffs among customers. 'Distributing Charlie Hebdo, it
warms my heart because we say to ourselves that he is still here,
he's never left,' said Jean-Baptiste Saidi, a van driver delivering
copies well before dawn on Wednesday. French Interior Minister Bernard
Cazeneuve was among those to get a copy before they sold out. 'I
rediscovered their liberty of tone,' he told France-Inter radio,
describing the issue as one of 'tender impertinence'." In "France
arrests 54 for defending terror;
newspaper sells out," by Lori Hinnant, Associated Press, 14
Addendum of the Hebdo Murders
Opening Comment Worldwide: "...'France and the
world must slam 'the useful idiots of a radical Islam immersed in the
sociology of poverty and frustration.' He adds, 'Those whose faith is
Islam must proclaim very loudly, very often, and in great numbers their
rejection of this corrupt and abject form of theocratic passion. ...
Islam must be freed from radical Islam.' So three very different
people -- a young southern governor who may run for president, the
political leader of the largest Muslim population in the world, and a
prominent Western European intellectual -- are saying that most of the
problem and most of the solution rests with the people of the Islamic
religion themselves. If they fail to take action, the radicals will
swallow up the whole religion and cause the destruction of the entire
Middle East and possibly large swaths of the rest of the world." In
"Jindal's Brilliant Take on Radical Islam," by Larry Kudlow, Creators,
17 January 2015.
[ 8 ]
Addendum of Insulting
Feelings: "Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam,
said Wednesday it deplored the continued 'mocking of Islam' by French
satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The kingdom is 'surprised, and
deplored' the publication last week of a new cartoon of the Muslim
prophet Mohammed, the state Saudi Press Agency said, citing a source at
the foreign ministry. 'The kingdom does not find any justification
for such deliberate abuse against Islam, which insults the feelings of
1.5 billion Muslims around the world,' the source said." In "Saudi
Arabia deplores Charlie Hebdo continued 'mocking of Islam'," Al Arabiya,
22 January 2015.
[ 9 ]
Addendum of an American Muslim
Published in Israel:
"The cartoons are not concerned with Islam, but with the way
some Muslims exercise Islam. Nor did they create a perception. They
merely reflected existing images created by extremists themselves, and
those who tacitly support them, of Muslims as irrational, impulsive,
logically incompetent, rationally illiterate and mentally handicapped.
While we may not want to admit it, these images are based on the
stark truth as many see it today. If this image is wrong, then we
Muslims bear the burden to show otherwise. Terrorism today stems
primarily from Muslims in the name of Islam, and we cannot brush off
accusations about our faith just by saying that the terrorists do not
act in our name. Nor can we resort to crying “Islamophobia” when the
perception of violent, rights-abusing Muslims arises.
For these images to change, Muslims must be at the forefront of
countering Islamic radicalization in the Middle East and in our adopted
countries. It is only then that the images of Muslims in satirical
magazines will reflect a different reality." In "Only Muslims can
change the world’s view of Islam," by Mohammed Wattad, Jerusalem
Post, 26 January 2015.
Addendum of Another Muslim
Challenging Muslims: " 'The link between people
committing barbaric acts throughout the world is that they think of
themselves as Muslim. As long as Muslims refuse to look at that
honestly...I think it's not very serious intellectually and dubious
morally and it's shocking this point is going to keep on coming'."
In "France likely to close more than 100 mosques," by Anealla Safdar,
AlJazeera, 3 December 2015.
Addendum - What's in a Name:
"All the euphemisms politicians demand we must use to
avoid calling Islamic State 'Islamic State' therefore call Islamic State
'Islamic State'. How can they not, for that is its name? And it is no
more up to outsiders to change a group’s name than it is up to you to
change the names of your acquaintances. Assuming the politicians know
what they are doing, they must believe that many voters will not know
what 'Isil' and 'Isis' stand for, or only Arabic speakers will
understand the meaning of 'Daesh'. In other words,
they are relying on ignorance and hoping to foster ignorance too. Why
the lies? Why the resort to the magical belief that you can change the
world by changing language? The overly cynical response that politicians
lie all the time won’t wash." In "Isil stands for Islamic State in
Iraq and the Levant. Does David Cameron not realise this?" by Nick
Cohen, Spectator UK, 2 July 2015.
Addendum of Continuing Jihad
in Paris: "Unlike the response in January after
attacks at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and elsewhere left
17 dead, there were no grand public appeals for solidarity with
Muslims after the Friday attacks that left 129 dead in Paris.
There were no marches, few pleas not to confuse practitioners of Islam
with those who preach jihad. Instead, there was a palpable fear, even
anger, as President François Hollande asked Parliament to extend a state
of emergency and called for changing the Constitution to deal with
terrorism." In "After Paris Attacks, a Darker Mood Toward Islam
Emerges in France," by Adam Nossiter and Liz Aldermannov, New York
Times, 16 November 2015.
[ 10 ]
Addendum of Mali:
"Just hours after Secretary of State John Kerry called al-Qaida
'contained' and French President Hollande praised France's Africa
mission as a success, terrorists struck a luxury hotel in Mali. No, the
Paris attacks aren't over. Terrorists again struck a Western target,
this time the Radisson Blu luxury hotel in Bamako, Mali, where armed men
in a car with diplomatic plates were waved through to supposedly secure
hotel grounds." In "Mali: Paris Attacks Part Deux," IBD Editorial,
Investors Business Daily, 20 November 2015.
Addendum of France
Shutting Down Salafist Mosques: "Kalashnikov ammunition
and Islamic State propaganda videos were seized in raids following the
closure of a mosque in the Paris suburbs, French authorities said
Sunday. The prayer hall in Lagny-sur-Marne, around 30 kilometres (18
miles) east of the capital, was shut down last Wednesday following a
large-scale police operation. Associated with the traditionalist
Salafist branch of Islam, it is the third mosque in France to be closed
after the coordinated jihadist attacks on Paris on November 13." In
"Ammunition, IS propaganda found after France mosque closure," France
24, 6 December 2016.
Addendum of the Charlie Hebdo
Massacre's First Anniversary: "Riss [
Laurent Sourisseau, the newspaper’s director ] wrote that Islamic
fanatics and other religious zealots wanted Charlie Hebdo’s secular
journalists to pay the ultimate price 'for daring to laugh at religion.'
He insisted that the newspaper would remain alive because 'never
have we wanted so much to break the faces of those who dreamed of our
deaths'. The editorial 'is violent and very insulting toward religion,'
Abdallah Zekri, president of the Observatory against Islamophobia, told
BFM television on Monday." In "Charlie Hebdo editor: No one questions
when Jews are killed," by Associated Press and Times of Israel, 5
[ 11 ]
Addendum of Plain Talk:
"Did your French gun control stop a single fucking
person from dying at the Bataclan? And if anyone can answer yes, I’d
like to hear it, because I don’t think so. I think the only thing that
stopped it was some of the bravest men that I’ve ever seen in my life
charging head-first into the face of death with their firearms. Maybe...
I know people will disagree with me, but it just seems like God made men
and women, and... and that night guns made them equal. I hate it that
it's that way. I think the only way that my mind has been changed is
that maybe that until nobody has guns everybody has to have them."
Jesse Hughes from the band, Eagles of Death Metal which played at the
Bataclan, in iTélé interview, 16 February 2016.
Addendum of Brussels
and the Islamic Caliphate: "Just weeks before
the Brussels attacks, Delefortrie told us his dream to 'live under an
Islamic caliphate' would soon become a reality in Europe. ISIS’s
brand of militant Islam would not be denied, he said, because 'ISIS is
not a group, it’s an ideology'." In "We talked to an ex-ISIS fighter in
Belgium, and what he said was chilling," by Mariana Van Zeller and
Fusion Investigative Unit, Fusion, 23 March 2016.
Addendum of a British Muslim
Speaking Out: "Teddy bears, tears, candles,
cartoons, murals, mosaics, flowers, flags, projections, hashtags,
balloons, wreaths, lights, vigils, scarves, and more. These are the best
solutions the Western world seems to come up with every few months when
we are slammed by another Islamist terrorist attack. We are our own
sickness." In "Enough With The Teddy Bears And Tears: It’s Time
To Take Our Civilization Back," by Raheem Kassam, Breitbart London,
23 March 2016.
Addendum of Bombing an Iraqi
Football Game: "In the latest terror attack linked to
the Islamic State, at least 29 people were killed when a suicide bomber
attacked a football stadium south of Baghdad Friday, Iraqi security
officials told The Associated Press. Nearly 60 other people were
reported hurt. Fox News has learned ISIS immediately claimed
responsibility for the blast." In "Suicide blast kills 29 at Iraq
football stadium; ISIS claims responsibility," FOX News, 25 March 2016.
of Bombing in Lahore: "A suicide bomber killed at
least 65 people, mostly women and children, at a park in Lahore on
Sunday in an attack claimed by a Pakistani Taliban faction which
said it had targeted Christians. More than 300 other people were
wounded, officials said." In "Suicide bomber targeting Christians
kills 65, mostly women and children, in Pakistan park," by Mubasher
Bukhari and Mehreen Zahra-Malik, Reuters, 27 March 2016.
of Mistrust in Islam in France, Germany: "...
according to the director of Ifop’s opinion department, Jérôme Fourquet,
the recent bloodshed in the French capital isn’t the only factor at
play. 'The deterioration of Islam’s image in France wasn’t triggered
by the attacks, even if those events contributed to it. What we’re
seeing is more of a growing resistance within French society to Islam.
It was already the case among voters for the [far-right] National Front
and part of the right, but it has now expanded to the Socialist Party,'
he told Le Figaro." In "Poll shows mistrust of Islam in France,
Germany," by RFI (of France Médias Monde), 30 May 2016.
Addendum of Istanbul
Attack: "At least 41
people have been killed after three suicide bombers opened fire before
blowing themselves up at Istanbul's main airport. Officials said the
number of dead is likely to rise to 50, while Turkey's prime minister
said Islamic State militants appeared to have carried out the attack,
which left around 239 people injured." In "Istanbul Airport Blasts:
At Least 41 Killed," Sky News, 29 June 2016.
[ 1 ]
The news coverage tells the tale.
Gunfire was the response to gunfire, plainly said. The
article began: "With explosions and gunfire, security
forces Friday ended three days of terror around Paris,
killing the two al-Qaida-linked brothers who staged a
murderous rampage at a satirical newspaper and an accomplice
who seized hostages at a kosher supermarket to try to help
the brothers escape. The worst terrorist violence France has
seen in decades killed at least 20 people, including the
three gunmen. A fourth suspect — the common law wife of the
market attacker — was still at large and believed to be
armed. Al-Qaida's branch in Yemen said it directed the
attack against the publication Charlie Hebdo to avenge the
honor of the Prophet Muhammad, a frequent target of the
weekly's satire." With explosions and gunfire were the
terrorists killed at the end of this tale.
[ 2 ]
Bin Laden became among the poster
children for the modern jihadist movement. His rationale was
somehow that Muslims were always victims and never
victimizers. And yet, his theological position tells that
jihad is rooted not only in the Koran and Hadiths, but also
in history. He stated: "The enmity between us and
the Jews goes far back in time and is deep rooted. There is
no question that war between the two of us is inevitable."
In "Who Is Bin Laden? - Interview With Osama Bin Laden,"
PBS/WGBH, May 1998.
Of what Bin Laden claimed, one learns: "In February
1998, the 40-year-old Saudi exile Usama Bin Ladin and a
fugitive Egyptian physician, Ayman al Zawahiri, arranged
from their Afghan headquarters for an Arabic newspaper in
London to publish what they termed a fatwa issued in the
name of a 'World Islamic Front.' A fatwa is normally an
interpretation of Islamic law by a respected Islamic
authority, but neither Bin Ladin, Zawahiri, nor the three
others who signed this statement were scholars of Islamic
law. Claiming that America had declared war against God
and his messenger, they called for the murder of any
American, anywhere on earth, as the "individual duty for
every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is
possible to do it." Three months later, when interviewed in
Afghanistan by ABC-TV, Bin Ladin enlarged on these themes.2
He claimed it was more important for Muslims to kill
Americans than to kill other infidels. 'It is far better for
anyone to kill a single American soldier than to squander
his efforts on other activities,' he said. Asked whether he
approved of terrorism and of attacks on civilians, he
'We believe that the worst thieves in the world today and
the worst terrorists are the Americans. Nothing could stop
you except perhaps retaliation in kind. We do not have to
differentiate between military or civilian. As far as we are
concerned, they are all targets'." In " The Foundation
of the New Terrorism, 2.1, a Declaration of War," Complete
9/11 Commission Report, 23 February 1998.
While the focus at that time seemed to portray Americans as
guilty of being "crusaders" and the "worst thieves," one
finds in subsequent years that jihadist attacks have
occurred all around the world and in many nations. Enmity
between jihadists and "the Jews" and then Americans, has
become enmity against Europeans, Australians, Asians,
Africans and more. It has become enmity between one form of
Islam and another, as one watches the surrogate conflicts
between Sunni and Shia, as well as between jihadists and
cartoonists, satirists, novelists like Rushdie, and much
Bin Laden's "crusader" complaint rings false, when one
considers that early Islam was conquest-oriented. One reads:
"The rapid Muslim conquest of Palestine, Syria, Egypt and
the North African coast all the way to Morocco in the
seventh century resulted in the permanent imposition by
force of Islamic culture onto a previously Christian and
largely non-Arab base. The Visigothic kingdom fell to Muslim
conquerors in a single battle on the Rio Barbate in 711, and
the Hispanic Christian population took seven long centuries
to regain control of the Iberian peninsula." Cited by
Wikipedia as from "Watson, William, E. (1993). The Battle of
Tours-Poitiers Revisited. Providence: Studies in Western
Civilization v.2 n.1."
[ 3 ]
A declared war by jihadists labeled as
terrorists? One may review the numbers of terrorists
organizations, one such list compiled through Wikipedia. One
headed by a crackpot nationalist Israeli now long dead, a
small number by political separatists featuring a few Irish
hooligans, a yet larger number of Communist groups, and by
far the most numerous on the list, Muslim jihadist groups.
While some in the Western political and press establishment
wish to disassociate these from Islam itself, one should
note the number of terrorist organization which include the
term "Islamic" in their name and further supporting
"Organizations currently officially designated as
terrorist by various governments. The list includes
references to organisations associated with Al-Qaida by the
United Nations. 1)
Abdullah Azzam Brigades, 2) Abu Nidal Organization,
Abu Sayyaf, 4) Aden-Abyan Islamic Army, 5)
Akhil Bharat Nepali Ekta Samaj, 6)
al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, 7) Al-Badr , 8)
al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, 9)
Al Ghurabaa, 10) al-Haramain Foundation, 11)
Al-Itihaad al-Islamiya, 12) Al-Mourabitoun,
Al- Nusra Front, 14) al-Qaeda, and al-Qaeda
in the Arabian Peninsula, 15)
al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, 16) Al-Shabaab,
Takfir wal-Hijra, 18) Al-Umar-Mujahideen, 19)
All Tripura Tiger Force, 20)
Ansar al-Sharia (Libya), 21) Ansar al-Sharia
Ansar al-Islam, 23) Jamaat Ansar al- Sunna,
Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, 25) Ansar Dine, 26)
Ansaru (Vanguard for the Protection of Muslims in Black
Armed Islamic Group of Algeria, 28) Army of Islam,
Osbat al- Ansar, 30) Aum Shinrikyo, 31) Babbar Khalsa
International, 32) Balochistan Liberation Army, 33) Boko
Caucasian Emirate, 35) Comite' de Blenfaisance et
de Solidarite' avec la Palestine, 36) Communist Party of
India (Marxist–Leninist), 37) Communist Party of the
Philippines/New People's Army, 38) Communist Party of
Turkey/Marxist–Leninist, 39) Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei, 40)
Continuity Irish Republican Army, 41) Cumann na mBan, 42)
Deendar Anjuman. 43) Donetsk People's Republic, 44)
Dukhtaran-e-Millat, 45) East Turkestan Information
East Turkestan Islamic Movement, 47) East
Turkestan Liberation Organization, 48)
Egyptian Islamic Jihad, 49) Ergenekon, 50) ETA, 51)
Fianna Éireann, 52)
Force 17 (commando and special operations unit of the
Palestinian Fatah movement and later of the Office of the
Chairman of the Palestinian Authority), 53)
Great Eastern Islamic Raiders' Front, 54) Hamas,
Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, 56) Haqqani
57) Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami , 58)
Harkat-al-Jihad al-Islami in Bangladesh, 59)
Harakat Sham al-Islam, 62)Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin,
Hezbollah, 64) Hezbollah (Military Wing), 65)
Hezbollah (External Security Organisation), 66)
Hezbollah Al-Hejaz, 67)
Hilafet Devleti, 68) Hizb ut-Tahrir, 69)
Hizbul Mujahideen, 70)
Hofstad Network (influenced by the ideology of Takfir
wal-Hijra. Redouan al-Issar), 71)
Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, 72)
Indian Mujahideen, 73) International Sikh Youth
Federation, 74) Irish National Liberation Army, 75) Irish
People's Liberation Organisation, 76)
Islamic Jihad - Jamaat Mujahideen, 77) Islamic
Jihad Union, 78)
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, 79) Islamic State
of Iraq and the Levant, 80)
Jaishi-e-Mohammed, 81) Jaish al-Muhajireen
Jamaat Ul-Furquan, 83) Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen
Jamiat al-Islah al-Idzhtimai, 85) Jamiat ul-Ansar,
Jamiat-e Islami, 87) Jemaah Islamiyah, 88)
Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid, 89)
Jund al-Sham, 90) Jundallah, 91) Kach and
Kahane Chai, 92) Kangleipak Communist Party, 93) Kanglei
Yawol Kanna Lup, 94)
Kata'ib Hezbollah, 95) Khalistan Commando Force, 96)
Khalistan Zindabad Force, 97)
Khuddam ul-Islam, 98) Komalah (Kurdish branch of the
Communist Party of Iran), 99) Kurdistan Democratic
Party/North, 100) Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, 101) Kurdistan
Workers Party, 102)
Lashkar-e-Taiba, 103) Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, 104)
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, 105)
Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, 106) Loyalist
Volunteer Force, 107) Lugansk People's Republic, 108)
Manipur People’s Liberation Front, 109) Maoist Communist
Centre of India, 110) Marxist–Leninist Communist Party, 111)
Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group, 112) Mujahideen
Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, 113)
Muslim Brotherhood, 114) Front Nacional Democratic
Bodoland, 115) National Liberation Army, 116) National
Liberation Front of Tripura, 117) Orange Volunteers, 118)
Palestine al-muslima, 119) Islamic Jihad Movement
in Palestine, 120)
Palestinian Relief Development Fund – Interpal, 121)
Party of Free Life of Kurdistan, 122)
People's Congress of Ichkeria and Dagestan, 123)
People's Liberation Army of Manipur, 124)
People's Mujahedin of Iran, 125) People's
Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak, 126) Popular Front for
the Liberation of Palestine, 127)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General
Command, 128) Provisional Irish Republican Army, 129)
Quds Force, 130) Real Irish Republican Army, 131) Red
Hand Commando, 132) Red Hand Defenders, 133) Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia, 134) Revolutionary Organization 17
November ( Marxist urban guerrilla organization), 135)
Revolutionary Party of Kurdistan, 136) Revolutionary
People's Liberation Party–Front, 137) Revolutionary Struggle
(Epanastatikos Agonas — EA), 138) Saor Éire, 139)
The Saved Sect (al-Firqat un-Naajiyah), 140)
Tevhid-Selam (Al-Quds Army), 141) Shining Path (Partido
Comunista del Perú), 142)
Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, 143) Society of the
Revival of Islamic Heritage, 144) Stichting Al Aqsa,
Students Islamic Movement of India, 146) Supreme
Military Majlis ul-Shura of the United Mujahideen Forces of
Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, 150) Tamil Nadu Liberation
Army, 151) Tamil National Retrieval Troops, 152)
Tanzim (militant faction of the Palestinian Fatah
movement), 153) Ulster Defence Association, 154) Ulster
Volunteer Force, 155) United Liberation Front of Assam, 156)
United National Liberation Front, 157) United Self-Defense
Forces of Colombia, 158)
Vanguards of Conquest (Talaa'al al-Fateh), 159) World
Tamil Movement, and 160)
World Uygur Youth Congress." In "List of designated
terrorist organizations," Wikipedia, accessed January 2015.
What one may then note about an "international jihadist
movement" and a "declaration of war?" Is it
international? There are examples aplenty. Bringing up the
rear in comparative numbers of terrorist organizations are
Communists/Marxists/Leninists, then a small variety of
nationalist separatists, and a few odds and ends in today's
world of terrorism.
Canada and jihad, one reads: "Jihadists
lauded the attacks in Canada that took the lives of two
soldiers, posting celebratory wishes on Twitter and
encouraging more destruction, while the body of Cpl. Nathan
Cirillo was slated to be returned to his hometown Friday.
'During war, soldiers defend the country … except in Canada
where they take off their uniforms and hide in their bases!
#OttawaShooting,' wrote a Twitter user who goes by
Abusunnah." In "Jihadists celebrated attacks on Canadian
military men as dead soldier memorialized," by Corrine
Letsch, NY Daily News, 24 October 2014.
Australia and jihad, one reads: " 'It is
very important that attacks take place in every country that
has entered into the alliance against the Islamic State,
especially the US, UK, France, Australia and Germany,' the
Australian reported an Islamic State magazine saying.
'Every Muslim should get out of his house, find a
crusader, and kill him. It is important that the killing
becomes attributed to patrons of the Islamic State who have
obeyed its leadership. … 'Rely upon Allah and stab the
crusader’ should be the battle cry'." Australia’s
jihadist movement once had very different objectives. During
the 1980s and the 1990s, Australia’s jihadist network
focused outward, according to a 2011 paper in Terrorism and
Political Violence." In "Australia’s jihadist problem is
much bigger than Sydney’s hostage crisis," by Terrence
McCoy, Washington Post, 15 December 2014.
Ireland and jihad, one reads: "UK-based radical
Muslim preacher Anjem Choudary has made claims that Ireland
is, and has been, a legitimate al-Qaeda target because
American planes are allowed to refuel at Shannon Airport in
Co. Clare." In "Radical Muslim preacher says Ireland is a
legitimate al-Qaeda target," by Kayla Hertz, Irish
Central, 10 January 2015.
Germany and jihad specifically against the Charlie
Hebdo cartoons, one reads: "Vandals threw rocks at the
headquarters of the Hamburg Morgenpost (MOPO), which
reprinted cartoons from the satirical magazine at the centre
of the terrorist attacks in Paris last week." In "Arsonists
attack office of German newspaper that printed Charlie Hebdo
cartoons," by Will Robinson and Mark Duell, Daily Mail
UK/Mail Online, 11 January 2015.
South America and jihad, one reads: "One
of the most notorious terrorist attacks in South America
occurred in 1992 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, when a bomb was
detonated at the Israeli embassy. The attack killed 29. Two
years later, a Jewish community center was bombed resulting
in the deaths of 85 innocent people. The Argentine special
prosecutor who investigated this case, Alberto Nisman,
concluded in a 500-page report that Iran was responsible for
both bombings. Further, Nisman’s report says that Hezbollah
works as a surrogate for Iran.
Many analysts agree that Iran has been active in Latin
America since the 1980s and that its influence is expanding.
It has been setting up intelligence operations through its
embassies, and Hezbollah, a Shiite Lebanese terrorist group,
is colluding with drug cartels for financial support. They
reportedly are also
involved in money laundering, piracy and counterfeiting
that, according to the U.S. Naval War College, has
proved quite profitable. A 2004 War College study concluded
that these operations along the border of
Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay netted
Hezbollah $10 million a year." In "Jihad in our
hemisphere," by Helen Aguirre Ferré, Miami Herald, 4
India and jihad, one reads: "The emergence of a
Islamic State-aligned militant group in India comes weeks
after al Qaeda announced the formation of an Indian branch,
aiming to rouse the world's third largest Muslim population
into action. 'There is no doubt that the radicalisation
process has begun in different parts of the country.
Islamic fundamentalists are seeking to indoctrinate
Indian Muslims,' said Ajay Sahni, executive director of
the Institute for Conflict Management in New Delhi which
monitors militant groups across South Asia. The rapid rise
of the Islamic State has evoked admiration among some groups
in India and the flags of the insurgent group have appeared
at rallies in Indian Kashmir, the country's only
Muslim-majority state and the site of a nearly 25-year armed
revolt." In "Indian jihadist group calls for attacks on
non Muslims," by Rupam Jain Nair, Reuters (New Delhi), 6
Russia and jihad, one reads: "Among the most
shocking acts of violence was an attack in the neighboring
republic of North Ossetia in 2004, where militants seized a
school and, in the three-day siege that followed, more than
300 were killed, most of them children. The attack
was ordered by Chechen separatist leader Shamil Basayev, who
was himself killed in a 2006 bombing believed to have been
conducted by Russian internal security forces. Militants
from Chechnya and other restive regions have targeted Moscow
and other areas with bombings and hostage-takings for more
than 20 years. The republic is predominantly Muslim and has
waged two wars with Russian security forces since the demise
of the Soviet Union in 1991." In "Russia's Chechnya has long
terrorist connections," by Ray Locker, Kevin McCoy and Gregg
Zoroya, USA Today, 20 April 2013.
China and jihad, one reads: "Nearly 100
people, most of them 'terrorists,' were killed in an attack
last week in China, state media reported Sunday. A total of
37 civilians were killed, and police 'gunned down 59
terrorists'" Xinhua reported, bringing the death toll to 96.
A gang wielding knives and axes attacked civilians, a
police station and government offices and smashed vehicles
in a restive region, according to Xinhua. Cars were
vandalized, and some were set ablaze. The 'organized and
premeditated' attack took place Monday in the northwestern
Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
There have been numerous attacks in the region, where
tensions are simmering between Uyghur Muslims, a Turkic
people, and Chinese Han people." In "Nearly 100 dead --
mostly 'terrorists' -- in attack, China says," by Joe
Sterling and Josh Levs, CNN, 4 August 2014.
Thailand and jihad, one reads: "The
jihadis are hell-bent on turning this region into an Islamic
breakaway state. Since 2004, their war against the
Buddhist nation of Thailand has tallied more than 6,200
dead. That's more conflict deaths in the last 10 years than
in the Gaza Strip." In "Red Light Jihad: Insurgency in
Thailand party town," by Patrick Winn, USA Today, 8 December
Philippines and jihad, one reads: "Since its
inception in 1991, the group has carried out bombings,
kidnappings, assassinations and extortion in what they
describe as their fight for an independent Islamic province
in the Philippines.
Abu Sayyaf seeks the establishment of an Iranian-style
Islamic theocracy in the southern Philippines. Abu
Sayyaf forces in Basilan and in Zamboanga Peninsula were, by
June 2003, believed to number less than 500, down from more
than 1,000 a year earlier. They use mostly improvised
explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles." In "Moro
insurgency in the Philippines," Wikipedia, accessed January
2015. The article notes recemtly, "In 2014,
some Abu Sayyaf leaders pledged allegiance to the Islamic
State of Iraq and the Levant, including Isnilon Hapilon.
He broke up with al-Qaeda and switched allegiance to Islamic
But the Philippines has more problems than the Abu Sayyaf.
One reads further: "The predominantly Christian
Philippines has been battling Muslim rebels in the south of
the archipelago for decades and while negotiations with the
biggest group have raised hopes for peace, fighting with
smaller factions erupts regularly.
The latest clashes are between the army and a faction
known as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF)
in a marshy region of Mindanao island." In "Philippine
offensive against Muslim rebels displaces thousands,"
Reuters, 6 March 2015.
Nigeria and jihad, one only need think of Boko Haram.
One reads: " 'Dead bodies litter the bushes in the
area and it is still not safe to go and pick them (up) for
burial,' said Musa Bukar, the chairman of the local
government where Baga is located. 'Some people who hid in
their homes were burned alive.' During the raid that started
January 3, hundreds of gunmen seized the town of Baga and
neighboring villages, as well as a multinational military
base. Attacks started at dawn and continued throughout last
weekend, according to residents." In "2,000 feared killed
in 'deadliest' Boko Haram attack in Nigeria," by Aminu
Abubakar and Faith Karimi, CNN, 10 January 2015.
Egypt and the whole problem of "terrorism," one reads
another reference back to the above list of terrorist
organizations, so many of which are Islamic ""An Egyptian
court on Saturday banned the armed wing of Palestinian
Islamist movement Hamas, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades,
declaring it a 'terrorist' group, a judiciary official said.
Since Egypt's military ousted Islamist president Mohamed
Morsi in 2013, the authorities have accused Hamas, which
controls the Gaza Strip, of aiding jihadists who have
increased their attacks on security forces in the Sinai
Peninsula. Saturday's court verdict followed a complaint
from a lawyer accusing the Hamas armed wing of
direct involvement in 'terrorist operations' in the Sinai,
a court official said." In "Egypt court rules Hamas armed
wing 'terror group'," Agence France Presse, 31 January 2015.
The Egyptian president stated: "...these extremists
not only insult Islam, they also offend the image of God,
the all-mighty. Their false beliefs lead many people to
ask themselves: What kind of a religion is this Islam?" In
"Interview with Egyptian President Sisi: 'Extremists
Offend the Image of God'," by Dieter Bednarz and Klaus
Brinkbäumer, Speigel International, 9 February 2015.
One will find yet more news coverage from around the world,
but it comes to a singular conclusion, as Stephen Harper
observed. "The international jihadist movement has
War is a two-sided pursuit. A declaration of war is being
answered with a declaration of war. "Prime Minister Manuel
Valls declared Saturday that
France was at war with radical Islam after the
harrowing sieges that had led to the deaths of three gunmen
and four hostages the day before, and as the authorities
mounted a frantic hunt for a suspected accomplice. 'It is
a war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical
Islam, against everything that is aimed at breaking
fraternity, freedom, solidarity,' Mr. Valls said during
a speech in Évry, south of Paris." In "French Premier
Declares ‘War’ on Radical Islam as Paris Girds for Rally,"
by Dan Bilefsky and Maïa de la Bumejan, New York Times, 10
Therefore, "Do not just hold a vigil / While there's gunfire
at your door."
[ 4 ]
The point is well taken, as one notes
the identification of so many Islamic terrorist
organizations banned by many world governments, alongside
the extremist statements and murderous acts of radical
jihadists worldwide. While world leaders are clearly saying
this is now a worldwide war waged in many lands, el-Sisi's
correctly notes that "...the Islamic world is being torn,
it is being destroyed, it is being lost. And it is being
lost by our own hands."
There can be but a few alternatives. One wins a war, be it
the "international jihadist movement" winning and the
world's non-Muslims losing, or the "international jihadist
movement" losing and the world of non-Muslims winning, or a
continual state of war between Islamic jihadists and
non-Muslims as well as the many "kuffir" (apostates and
non-believers as assigned by various definitions of various
Islamic groups). This even nominal Muslims are targets of
international jihadist Muslims.
So who defines what it is to be a Muslim? One reads of
some detail in the Paris attack: "Ahmed Merabet, the
police officer gunned down in the Charlie Hebdo attack, was
killed in an act of barbarity by 'false Muslims' his
brother said in a moving tribute on Saturday, where he also
appealed for unity and tolerance. Speaking for a group of
relatives gathered in Paris, Malek Merabet said the
terrorists who ignored his brother’s plea for mercy as he
lay wounded on the street may have shared his Algerian
roots, but had nothing else in common." In "Paris
policeman’s brother: 'Islam is a religion of love.
My brother was killed by terrorists, by false Muslims',"
by Emma Graham-Harrison, Guardian UK, 10 January 2015.
An act of barbarity by false Muslims, says a Muslim. Others
disagree. One reads: "...worshippers left Friday
prayers at a local mosque in Chora district and swelled to
several hundred people, said Chora police chief Abdul Qawi.
'The protesters were calling the attackers heroes and were
shouting that those who had mocked the Prophet Mohammad were
punished,' Qawi said. Provincial police chief Matiullah Khan
said that police had been informed in advance of the
demonstration, which was allowed under the Afghan
constitution's free-speech provisions." In "Afghanistan
rally hails Charlie Hebdo attackers as 'heroes'," by
Sayed Sarwar Amani, Reuters, 11 January 2015.
And in opposition to those at the Afghanistan rally, one
reads: "Culture Secretary Sajid Javid has said that
it is 'lazy and wrong' to suggest that the Paris attacks
have nothing to do with Islam. Javid, who is himself of
Muslim heritage, also said that the Muslim community has a
'special burden' to tackle extremism within its community.
Speaking on Radio 5 Live during Pienaar’s Politics, Mr Javid
said: 'There is no getting away from the fact that the
people carrying out these acts – what we have seen just
horrifically this week in Paris, what has happened in London
and Madrid – these people call themselves Muslims.The lazy
answer would be to say that this has got nothing whatsoever
to do with Islam or Muslims and that should be the end of
that. That would be lazy and wrong. You can’t get away from
the fact that these people are using Islam, taking a
peaceful religion and using it as a tool to carry out their
activities'." In "Sajid Javid: Idea that Paris Attacks
Have Nothing to do with Islam is 'Lazy and Wrong'," by
Donna Rachel Edmunds, Breitbart London, 11 January 2015.
Thus one sees in real time the content of President
el-Sisi's words and challenge to Islamic preachers. Who
shall define with clarity what a "real" Muslim is, and what
a "false" Muslim is? The murderous phenomenon of the Islamic
State in Iraq and Syria is that they too are defining what
it is to be a "real" Muslim and what it is to be a "false"
Muslim. The partisans soundly disagree, and this is the very
definition of a religious schism historically.
What the world faces is a logical inconsistency, currently
without a clear and defining solution. Islam has been
defined in inconsistent and opposing statements, and there
is no single authority to clarify. Thus Islamic scholars, as
el-Sisi noted, are confronting the greatest challenge
"because the Islamic world is being torn, it is being
destroyed, it is being lost. And it is being lost by our own
What does Islam mean and what does it require? No
comprehensive answer can come from a community as divided as
is Islam today, but many mutually inconsistent answers are
heard raging away, complete with gunfire.
Oddly this is true of the second largest group of terror
organizations listed above, as Marxist and even non-Marxist
socialism in its varying forms is also almost indefinable,
excepting as a strategy for gaining power over others.
Philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) noted in the
Preface to his "The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism,"
that: "Bolshevism combines the characteristics of the
French Revolution with those of the rise of Islam; and
the result is something radically new, which can only be
understood by a patient and passionate effort of
Russell, who was an admirer of Communism in theory but
skeptical of how Bolshevism might make this "progress."
continued in in a subsequent chapter, "The Present Condition
of Russia," to observe "Those who accept Bolshevism
become impervious to scientific evidence, and commit
intellectual suicide. Even if all the doctrines of
Bolshevism were true, this would still be the case, since no
unbiased examination of them is tolerated. One who
believes, as I do, that the free intellect is the chief
engine of human progress, cannot but be fundamentally
opposed to Bolshevism, as much as to the Church of Rome.
Among religions, Bolshevism is to be reckoned with
Mohammedanism rather than with Christianity and Buddhism.
Christianity and Buddhism are primarily personal religions,
with mystical doctrines and a love of contemplation.
Mohammedanism and Bolshevism are practical, social,
unspiritual, concerned to win the empire of this world.
Their founders would not have resisted the third of the
temptations in the wilderness. What Mohammedanism did for
the Arabs, Bolshevism may do for the Russians. As Ali went
down before the politicians who only rallied to the Prophet
after his success, so the genuine Communists may go down
before those who are now rallying to the ranks of the
The citation of Ali and the tale of Karbala is sadly
amusing, given that the "success" of Ali's killers spawned
Sunni Islam, while the continuing followers of that lineage
spawned Shia Islam, the two in opposition to one another.
One may see this in the footnotes to the rhyme and extended
collection of referenced materials under
a thumbnail sketch of tolerance and inter-religious
Russell cites "the politicians" and wondered if "genuine
Communists" would lose to the Bolsheviks. With the hindsight
of history since 1920 and Russell's abject errors, one knows
the tale of the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics, now decades old. There was another form of
socialism attempted in Europe.
One reads: "We do not know whether Hitler is going to
found a new Islam. He is already on the way; he is like
Muhammad. The emotion in Germany is Islamic; warlike and
Islamic. They are all drunk with a wild god." Carl
Gustav Jung (1875-1961) "Symbolic Life: Miscellaneous
Writings (Volume 18 of The Collected Works of C. G. Jung),"
Routledge, 1977. The defeat of the National Socialists
in Germany which help end World War II proved that German
form of socialism was indeed "warlike." Jung added to the
description "and Islamic."
Perhaps this is what Islam has become in the hands of many,
a not unreasonable conclusion, given that many of the 20th
century founding documents of Islamic nations in the Middle
East contain elements of socialism in their wording,
including the most basic references to socialist theory. The
dreamed-of dictatorship of the proletariat is more akin to a
dictatorial theocracy than to a free people in a free
The religion of peace
is the recent political mantra of some in the West, as
stated by President George Bush and then agreed to by
President Obama in these last years.
But given the use of the adjective, "Islamic," by so many
listed above as organization names of terrorist groups, the
word becomes problematic or perhaps evidence of wishful
thinking. This remains to be seen, but a logical conclusion
is that for centuries there have been, at the minimum, two
forms of Islam proceeding from differing allegiances. It is
clear that today there are more as schism tears Islam into
disparate elements. As el-Sisi suggested, there is the
obvious call for a "religious revolution."
As counterpoint to the assertion of Bush and Obama, one
reads: "Are Isis and its followers heretics? The
politicians of Europe and America, including David Cameron,
Barack Obama and Francois Hollande, after every Islamicist
outrage insist on describing them as a lunatic fringe.
Their constant refrain is that these perpetrators of
murder and terror have as much to do with Islam as the Ku
Klux Klan has to do with Christianity or the testament of
Jesus Christ. But does such political assurance bear
scrutiny? Of course the politicians, church leaders and
others who say ‘these atrocities have nothing to do with
Islam’ are not making a researched or considered theological
statement. They are attempting, quite rightly, to prevent
civil discord in a world in which there are considerable
Muslim immigrant populations in most countries of Europe and
in the US." In "A grotesque love of propaganda. Unspeakable
barbarity. The loathing of Jews - and a hunger for world
domination. In this stunning intervention, literary colossus
V.S. NAIPAUL says ISIS is now the Fourth Reich" by V.S.
Naipaul, Daily Mail, 22 March 2015.
With the greater awareness around the world of Charlie
Hebdo's satire on religions to include Islam, the attack and
murder of twelve journalists has only increased the brand
name of Hebdo, broadened the satire and cartoons being
republished, and caused a French prime minister to state
publicly a national policy decision: 'It is a war
against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam,
against everything that is aimed at breaking fraternity,
[ 5 ]
Given the "satirical" stance of the
publication, the comment seems -- well -- satirical,
especially given the assertion that Charlie Hedbo will
continue to publish. One reads: "Radio France, Le
Monde and France Televisions released a joint statement in
which they offered to help the publication continue. They
also urged other media outlets to follow suit and offer
their assistance. Their statement read:
'Faced with horror, the groups Radio France, Le Monde and
France Televisions announce that Charlie Hedbo will be made
available and its team will bring together all necessary
means to ensure that Charlie Hebdo continues to live'."
In "Charlie Hebdo attack:
One million copies of magazine will be published as
French media vow to keep it running," by Heather Saul,
Independent UK, 8 January 2015.
One wonders if the satirists will forego payment for those
of "Charlie Hebdo’s sudden friends" upon whom he would
vomit, or would he prefer being paid for his cartoons and
satire? But the coverage of the cartoonist who would vomit
notes, "Willem stressed that Charlie Hebdo must continue to
publish. 'Otherwise, (the Islamists) have won'." Satire?
But Charlie Hebdo has new friends, whether or not Bernard
Holtrop likes it or not. One reads: "Around 700,000
people have poured out onto the streets of France on
Saturday to pay tribute to the 17 people killed during three
days of terror, the interior minister said. '700,000 people
have marched' in cities around France, Bernard Cazeneuve
told reporters on the eve of a rally in Paris he said would
likely attract 'several hundred thousand' people, as well as
a string of world leaders." In "700,000 people rally in
France after jihadist attacks," Agence France Presse, 10
What volume of vomit can Bernard Holtrop, born in 1941 and
now elderly, produce? Surely not enough for all of Charlie's
"new friends." Were they to return his sentiment however
like for like, it would be a flood. Would that be satirical?
[ 6 ]
Goldberg sets up his argument simply.
He asks, "Do you know who else isn’t Charlie? Barack Obama
isn’t Charlie. This is from a speech the president delivered
to the United Nations General Assembly in 2012: 'The future
must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.
But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also
condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that
are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the
Holocaust that is denied.' I wish President Obama had not
said this, for a number of reasons, not the least of which
is that the Holocaust is an historical fact, and church
desecrations are physical crimes against property; neither
vandalism nor the denial of historical reality compare to
the mocking of unprovable religious beliefs. (And yes, I
find attacks on the principles of my faith painful, but I
would defend the right of people to make such attacks; I'm
opposed, for instance, to the criminalization of Holocaust
Mainly, Obama’s statement is troubling because it should
be the role of the president of the United States, who
swears an oath to defend the Constitution, to explain to the
world the principle that free speech is sacred—painful,
sometimes, but sacred."
The Obama administration wanted the phrase "global war on
terror" out of the parlance, perhaps for its connection to
the previous Bush administration. But Obama said, "
'Deranged or alienated individuals – often U.S. citizens or
legal residents – can do enormous damage, particularly
when inspired by larger notions of violent jihad. That
pull towards extremism appears to have led to the shooting
at Fort Hood, and the bombing of the Boston Marathon,' he
said. 'So that's the current threat: Lethal yet less capable
al-Qaida affiliates. Threats to diplomatic facilities and
businesses abroad. Homegrown extremists. This is the future
of terrorism. We must take these threats seriously, and do
all that we can to confront them'." In "Obama: 'Global War
on Terror' Is Over," by Paul D. Shinkman, US News and World
Report, 23 May 2013.
Reviewing the list of terror groups cited above, and looking
through recent events around the world, one need not quibble
over the West's "global war on terror" as phraseology.
France's Valls calls it a "war against terrorism, against
jihadism, against radical Islam." But Obama spoke of events
as "inspired by larger notions of violent jihad." From what
source does the term, jihad, come if not from Islam? Trying
to parse the terms seems intellectually impoverished.
Valls has gone farther, and spoken of "Islamo-fascism."
One reads as criticism of such: "Failing to call Islamism
by its name (a failure of which Barack Obama is, alas,
guilty) guarantees defeat. The idea of a war between
general Islam and the West is exactly the outcome Islamists
Failing to name Islamism out of political correctness,
fear or stupidity is the ultimate Islamophobic act. What
is seen, often sincerely, as a desire not to offend has only
allowed Islamists to thrive within our democracies as they
plot their extinction." In "How to save Islam from the
Islamists," by Qanta Ahmed, Spectator UK, 17 January 2015.
One reads yet more criticism of like kind: "When
you don’t call things by their real name, you always get in
this administration, so fearful of being accused of
Islamophobia, is refusing to make any link to radical Islam
from the recent explosions of violence against civilians
(most of them Muslims) by Boko Haram in Nigeria, by the
Taliban in Pakistan, by Al Qaeda in Paris and by jihadists
in Yemen and Iraq. We’ve entered the theater of the absurd.
Last week the conservative columnist Rich Lowry wrote an
essay in Politico Magazine that contained quotes from White
House spokesman Josh Earnest that I could not believe. I was
sure they were made up. But I checked the transcript: 100
percent correct." In "Say It Like It Is," by Thomas
L. Friedman, New York Times, 20 January 2015.
As to that theater of the absurd, one learns: "Lets
be clear nobody denies these are Muslims. And these
Muslim who claim their warped view of their ideology is what
informed their actions. Their hateful ideology in this
What we simply do not believe is they should somehow be
seen as representatives of Islam." Quote of White House
Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. "Meet the Press," NBC, 25
For such sentiments being trotted out by the US
administration, the Times printed yet clearer words:
"After a Danish movie director at a seminar on 'Art,
Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression' and a Danish Jew
guarding a synagogue were shot dead in Copenhagen, Helle
Thorning-Schmidt, the prime minister of Denmark, uttered a
familiar trope: 'We are not in the middle of a battle
between Islam and the West. It’s not a battle between
Muslims and non-Muslims. It’s a battle between values based
on the freedom of the individual and a dark ideology.' This
statement — with its echoes of President Obama’s vague
references to “violent extremists” uncoupled from the
fundamentalist Islam to which said throat-cutting extremists
pledge allegiance — scarcely stands up to scrutiny. It is
empty talk." In "Islam and the West at War," by Roger
Cohen, New York Times, 16 February 2015.
Islam and the West at war? The statement seems far clearer
than the US administration's "we simply do not believe...."
So some Muslims and their "hateful ideology" are not
representatives of Islam? Perhaps the Islamic State as it
names itself is not Islamic? The theater of the absurd
fumbles with words and illogic. A is B and A is also not B
defines the theater of the absurd.
The New York Times editorial of 16 February clarifies: "Islam
is a religion that has spawned multifaceted political
movements whose goal is power. Islam, as such, is fair
game for commentators, caricaturists and cartoonists, whose
inclination to mock the depredations of theocracy and
political Islam’s cynical uses of the Prophet cannot be
cowed by fear. Over the more than 13 years since Al Qaeda
attacked America on 9/11, we have seen trains blown up in
Madrid, the Tube and a bus bombed in London, Western
journalists beheaded, the staff of Charlie Hebdo
slaughtered, Jews killed in France and Belgium and now
Denmark. This is not the work of a 'dark ideology' but of
From another op-ed: "ISIS may be a perversion of
Islam, but Islamic it is, just as Christian beliefs about
the sanctity of the unborn child explain why some Christian
fundamentalists attack abortion clinics and doctors. But, of
course, murderous Christian fundamentalists are not killing
many thousands of civilians a year.
More than 80% of the world's terrorist attacks take place
in five Muslim-majority countries -- Afghanistan, Iraq,
Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria -- and are largely carried out
by groups with Islamist beliefs. This week the United
Nations released a report showing that civilian casualties
in Afghanistan were at the highest level since the
organization started counting them six years ago. The
Taliban were responsible for three-quarters of these deaths.
The Taliban and other Islamist terrorist groups are not, of
course, secular organizations. To treat them as if they were
springs from some combination of wishful thinking, PC gone
crazy and a failure to accept, in an increasingly
secularized era, that some will kill in the name of their
god, an all-too-common phenomenon across human history."
In "Nonsense about terrorism's 'root causes'," by Peter
Bergen, CNN, 19 February 2015.
Alternatively, some can still "believe" that it is not
Islamic, as evidenced by the White House spokesman above.
Criminal investigations attempt to identify a suspect as
perpetrator. Military action attempts to delineate between
combatant and civilians, who like victims in crimes are
often collateral damage. But identify, one must. Else one
cannot lead either a criminal investigation, a military
action or even an editorial in a newspaper. If those who
claim to be representatives of Islam are not to be
"believed" to be representatives of Islam as some world
leaders have attempted to say, then Islam has no definitive
meaning, but is merely a vague and illusory meaning.
It has been noted: "While humanity is not at war against
Islam, a part of Islam is certainly at war against humanity.
To ignore that fact amounts to a dereliction of intellectual
responsibility." In "Obama’s elementary errors on
Islam," by Amir Taheri, New York Post, 20 February 2015.
One also reads: "At the White House summit on
'countering violent extremism,' President Obama declared
that violent jihad in the name of Islam isn’t the work of
'religious leaders' but rather 'terrorists.' American-Muslim
leaders, attending the summit, cheered and applauded, later
taking selfies in front of the president’s seal. But,
as liberal Muslim feminist journalists who reject the
vision of the Islamic State, we can say that the Islamic
State, al Qaeda and the alphabet soup of Islamic militant
groups, like HUM (Harkut-ul Mujahideen) and LeT
(Lashkar-e-Taiba), rely very much on the scholarship of
'religious leaders,' from Ibn Tamiyyah in the 14th century
to Sayyid Qutb in the 20th century, who very much have
credibility and authority among too many Muslims as
'religious leaders'." In "Will It Take The End of the
World For Obama To Recognize ISIS As 'Islamic'?" by Asra Q.
Nomani, Daily Beast, 20 February 2015.
So a non-Muslim president defines Islam for the world from
the bully pulpit of the White House, winnowing away
competing views by other Muslims when they disagree with his
definition of Islam? How odd.
The assertion that American presidents are the final
authorities in defining Islam demeans Muslims, who are
themselves parts of various schisms within Islam over
centuries. It is oddly partisan in the world of political
Islam's varied streams of thought.
That assertion is all the more odd as time passes and one
reads: " 'The terrorism that we face within
the Muslim Ummah and our own homelands today … is
religiously motivated. It has been founded on extremism, and
the misconception of some distorted Sharia concept,'
Abdullah bin Abdelmohsin al-Turki, secretary-general of the
Muslim World League, said, The Atlantic reported Friday.
Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the grand imam of Sunni Islam’s most
prestigious university, al-Azhar in Egypt, said that
violence was 'strange to Islam,' but admitted that it was
'the historical accumulations of extremism and militancy,'
in the religion’s heritage that was 'the most prominent'
source of radicalization, The Atlantic reported." In "Mecca
debate challenges Obama narrative: 'The terror we face … is
religiously motivated'," by Douglas Ernst, Washington Times,
27 February 2015.
For more on Saudi Arabia and violence "strange to Islam,"
a thumbnail sketch of tolerance and inter-religious
which documents visually and in resourced quotes
violence, "strange to Islam," but prevalent in Saudi Arabia.
For such dissonance, one may conclude that Islam is
undergoing a severe schism within itself, as with all the
cultures which surround and traffic with it. Violence when a
world view is challenged or repudiated is a predictable
reaction. This does not justify it as a reasonable reaction
in the modern and modernizing world.
[ 7 ]
A marketing windfall? Of course, as is
the natural course of things. One reads further: "A week
ago, Charlie Hebdo was a niche publication little known
outside France, with a circulation of 60,000. On Wednesday
the satirical newspaper's first issue since last week's
deadly attack on its staff went on sale with an initial
print run of 3 million copies and front-page coverage around
the world. Readers in France mobbed newsstands to buy a
copy and European newspapers reprinted Charlie Hebdo's
cartoons as a gesture of solidarity." In "New Charlie Hebdo
reaches global audience, dismays Muslims," by Jill Lawless,
Associated Press, 14 January 2015.
But the "initial run" has not been enough, as demand is
proving greater, which according to the Associated Press
"dismays Muslims." Such is the power of publicity, something
many forget. Among those who forgot this were the killers
who were then killed, as has been much of the press so
reticent to further explore the story and the phenomena
The radical Islam of the Hebdo killers could not have
fashioned a better plan to increase paid views of "offending
cartoons." When measured by a run of millions of copies of
the latest Charlie Hebdo, apparently the future does indeed
belong to those "who slander Islam" after all. Oops.
[ 8 ]
From European intellectuals to
aspiring politicians to some Arab leaders, one finds that
these murders were, in effect, catastrophically stupid for
the enormous, worldwide comment they have drawn out into the
public press. In addition to making a minor French satire
magazine leap from 30,000 sold copies to a sold run of many
millions of copies each bearing another cartoon mockery of
Muhammad, these stupid and now dead "radical Islamists" have
caused comment aplenty with the central word -- Islam -- at
its center. From the Pope to nations' presidents and prime
ministers, from media and opinions writers on all sides of
the political spectrum, from Egypt's el-Sisi to Turkey's
Erdogan, from all sides there comes a mountain of comment
sparked from what was once a molehill of a French magazine.
[ 9 ]
Given that Saudi Arabia by law does
not allow Christian churches, even home meetings of
Christians, much less Jewish synagogues and Hindu temples
and Buddhist shrines and so much more in the broad array of
man's religions, it seems their complaint about Hebdo
insulting the feelings of Muslims is not mirrored with their
religious and legal rejections of other religions within
their borders. Sauce for one goose is not sauce for the
gander. If it were another nation could by law ban Islam as
Saudi Arabia has banned other religions. Given the number of
nations today criminalizing the mockery of national and
religious leaders, it seems the time comes when Islam will
receive the like consideration that it has given others.
As counterpoint to the whine of the current Saudi Arabian
government, one reads of an era of Muslim power:
“ The first of these bloody sultans, Kutb-d Din Aibak, was a
normal specimen of his kind fanatical, ferocious and
merciless. His gifts, as the Mohammedan historian tells us,
'were bestowed by hundreds of thousands, and
his slaughters likewise were by hundreds of thousands.'
In one victory of this warrior (who had been purchased as a
'fifty thousand men came under the collar of slavery, and
the plain became black as pitch with Hindus. Another
sultan, Balban, punished rebels and brigands by casting
them under the feet of elephants, or removing their skins,
stuffing these with straw, and hanging them from the gates
of Delhi. When some Mongol inhabitants who had settled
in Delhi, and had been converted to Islam, attempted a
rising, Sultan Alau-d-din (the conqucrer of Chitor) had
all the males from fifteen to thirty thousand of them
slaughtered in one day. Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlak
acquired the throne by murdering his father, became a great
scholar and an elegant writer, dabbled in mathematics,
physics and Greek philosophy,
surpassed his predecessors in bloodshed and brutality,
fed the flesh of a rebel nephew to the rebel's wife and
children, ruined the country with reckless inflation, and
laid it waste with pillage and murder till the inhabitants
fled to the jungle. He killed so many Hindus that, in the
words of a Moslem historian, 'there was constantly in front
of his royal pavilion and his Civil Court a mound of dead
bodies and a heap of corpses, while the sweepers and
executioners were wearied out by their work of dragging' the
victims 'and putting them to death in crowds.' In order
to found a new capital at Daulatabad he drove every
inhabitant from Delhi and left it a desert; and hearing that
a blind man had stayed behind in Delhi, he ordered him to be
dragged from the old to the new capital, so that only a leg
remained of the wretch when his last journey was finished.
The Sultan complained that the people did not love him, or
recognize his undeviating justice. He ruled India for a
quarter of a century, and died in bed. His successor,
Firoz Shah, invaded Bengal, offered a reward for every
Hindu head, paid for 180,000 of them, raided Hindu villages
for slaves, and died at the ripe age of eighty. Sultan
Ahmad Shah feasted for three days whenever the number of
defenseless Hindus slain in his territories in one day
reached twenty thousand." In "The Story of Civilization:
Our Oriental Heritage," Will Durant, Simon & Schuster, 1942.
This, one historical citation among all too many, serves to
point out that the complaint of the Saudis who ban other
religions' practice in their nation that the French are
somehow intolerant is simply specious.
[ 10 ] Sometimes news
writers expose their own failings. One such is the error in
the phrase, "not to confuse practitioners of Islam with
those who preach jihad." One notes without
factual error that 'jihad' is an Islamic term, and
'practitioners of Islam' must by all definitions 'preach
jihad.' One may argue about the meaning of 'jihad,' but to
attempt to separate jihad from Islam is about a specious as
to attempt to separate the term, "Blitzkrieg," from German
military vocabulary, or the French phrase so often used in
less bloody situations, "c'est la guerre."
As one considers similar stories for this time in history,
jihad cannot be parsed away from Islam any more than can the
Koran, as one reads: "Bursts of gunfire were heard as
the assailants went through the hotel room by room and floor
by floor, one senior security source and a witness told
Reuters. Some people were freed by the attackers after
showing they could recite verses from the Koran, while
others managed to escape or were brought out by security
forces." In "About 27 dead after Islamists seize
hotel in Mali's capital," by Tiemoko Diallo, Reuters, 20
From another report: "Gunmen who raided a Malian
hotel shouted 'Allahu akbar' as they sprayed bullets on
tables of people who were gathered for breakfast, a witness
said." In "Mali hotel attack: Gunmen barged in, shot at
'anything that moved'." by Faith Karimi and Erin Burnett,
CNN, 23 November 2015.
If the New York Times article asks not to "confuse"
practitioners of Islam with those that preach jihad, would
the writers also ask not to "confuse" reciting "verse from
the Koran" with "practitioners of Islam?"
What of "allahu akbar" while committing acts of terror
confuses that phrase with "practitioners of Islam?"
become so fluid in the hands of news writers, one cannot accept their resultant lack of
clarity, unless one sees their pursuit of a lack of clarity to begin with.
One of the terrorists from Paris attack with
Koran and ISIS flag
One reads from a self-published book refuted by some
Muslims: "While there are plenty of 'bad' Muslims
who are good people, they are as impotent as bad Nazis in
the Third Reich or bad Communists during Stalin’s era.
The Qur’an defines good and bad Muslims for us. It says a
good Muslim is a Jihadist, a man who leaves his home,
sacrificing his wealth and life, fighting in Allah’s Cause.
Allah says they will be rewarded with stolen booty if they
survive or with a heavenly bordello if they die. Bad
Muslims, on the other hand, are peaceful. Allah calls them
'hypocrites' because they are unwilling to fight. He even
says that peaceful Muslims are 'the most vile of creatures'
and that hell’s hottest fires await them. If you are a
peace-loving Muslim, your god hates you." In "Prophet of
Doom: Islam’s Terrorist Dogma in Muhammad’s Own Words," by
Craig Winn, Cricketsong Books, 2004.
Wiin's critics say so many quotes from the Koran and Hadith
materials are misquoted, taken out of context or
misinterpreted. One wonders how a photo such as the above is
supposed to be misinterpreted.
There is no wonder that some Muslims would dispute such as
Winn's observations and conclusions, just as the New York
Times writers report a conflict between "practitioners of
Islam with those who preach jihad," as if jihad is not
Islamic, nor the proclaimed Islamic State not Islamic, nor
reciting from the Koran to escape murder not related to the
Koran nor Islam. Obviously then, the many "jihadist" terror
groups as surveyed the footnote three above are not
"practitioners of Islam," with the small exception that they
all testify that they are and the preach jihad.
Of this era's jihadists, which the NYTimes would suggest are
not "practitioners of Islam," one reads further: "They
inhabit a mental landscape in which the Middle Ages never
went away. The menace of this way of thinking is brutally
evident — a world in which young people murdered at a rock
concert can be cursed as 'Crusaders' is a world on the verge
of going mad. It is not just non-Muslims who are threatened
by this imperialist nostalgia. 'Either you are with the
Crusade,' ISIS has warned European Muslims, 'or you are with
Islam.' Its ambition is to terrorise the West into
turning against its own Muslim citizens, and render it
impossible for them to live here as equals: 'For then
Muslims in the Crusader countries will find themselves
driven to abandon their homes, and will go to live in the
Caliphate.' History could hardly be more brutally
exploited." In "Shadow of a bloody past: For centuries,
Islam and Christianity were locked in a brutal conflict most
have forgotten. The horror, a top historian argues, is that
for jihadis it's as real today as it was in the Middle
Ages," by Tom Holland, Daily Mail UK, 21 November 2015.
To return to the NYTimes article of 16 November which
worries about confusing "practitioners of Islam with those
who preach jihad," one finds another article by the same
lead writer two days earlier. One reads: "Three teams
of Islamic State attackers acting in unison carried
out the terrorist assault in Paris on Friday night,
officials said Saturday, including one assailant who may
have traveled to Europe on a Syrian passport along with the
flow of migrants. 'It is an act of war that was committed by
a terrorist army, a jihadist army, Daesh, against France,'
President François Hollande told the nation from the Élysée
Palace, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State. 'It
is an act of war that was prepared, organized and planned
from abroad, with complicity from the inside, which the
investigation will help establish'." In "Three Teams of
Coordinated Attackers Carried Out Assault on Paris,
Officials Say; Hollande Blames ISIS," by Adam Nossiter,
Aurelien Breeden and Katrin Bennholdnov, New York Times, 14
More from the Times as to "radical Islam" comes from earlier
in the year: "Prime Minister Manuel Valls
declared Saturday that France was at war with radical
Islam after the harrowing sieges that led to the deaths
of three gunmen and four hostages the day before. New
details emerged about the bloody final confrontations, and
security forces remained on high alert. 'It is a war
against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam,
against everything that is aimed at breaking fraternity,
freedom, solidarity,' Mr. Valls said during a speech in
Évry, south of Paris." In "French Premier Declares ‘War’ on
Radical Islam as Paris Girds for Rally," by Dan Bilefsky and
Maïa de la Baumjan, New York Times, 10 January 2015.
The NYTimes prints an editorial after these, in part noting:
"Black Daesh, white Daesh. The former slits throats, kills,
stones, cuts off hands, destroys humanity’s common heritage
and despises archaeology, women and non-Muslims. The latter
is better dressed and neater but does the same things.
The Islamic State; Saudi Arabia. In its struggle against
terrorism, the West wages war on one, but shakes hands with
the other. This is a mechanism of denial, and denial has
a price: preserving the famous strategic alliance with Saudi
Arabia at the risk of forgetting that the kingdom also
relies on an alliance with a religious clergy that produces,
legitimizes, spreads, preaches and defends Wahhabism, the
ultra-puritanical form of Islam that Daesh feeds on.
Wahhabism, a messianic radicalism that arose in the 18th
century, hopes to restore a fantasized caliphate centered on
a desert, a sacred book, and two holy sites, Mecca and
Medina. Born in massacre and blood, it manifests itself in a
surreal relationship with women, a prohibition against
non-Muslims treading on sacred territory, and ferocious
religious laws." In "Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made
It," by Kamel Daoud, New York Times, 20 November 2015.
One returns then to the pertinent question: what is Islam
and who speaks authoritatively for it? When Muslims cannot
agree themselves, it becomes odd for American presidents and
so many news reporters in the West to argue as if they speak
The religion of peace
And as the liberal West tries in vain to define Islam, the wars continue in words and in deeds.
[ 11 ] That the
president of the Observatory against Islamophobia deemed the
latest Hebdo editorial --mere words, penned a year after a
murderous attack -- as "violent" demonstrates clearly that
the accusation of this newly coined word, Islamophobia, is a
The article noted: " 'We are so used to Jews being
killed because they are Jewish,' Gėrard Biard wrote. 'This
is an error, and not just on a human level. Because it’s the
executioner who decides who is Jewish. Nov. 13 was the proof
of that. On that day, the executioner showed us that he had
decided we were all Jewish'."
In fact, "moderate Muslims" are killed in the various
terrorist attacks by other Muslims over these many years
that it is possible to take Biard's editorial to say that
such innocent Muslims might well be included in the
metaphorical "we were all Jewish," for indeed the Muslim
world itself is torn apart by violent factions, and many
Muslims are being killed by Muslims. This begs the obvious
question -- are not Muslim terrorists themselves
Islamophobic? After all, the Observatory against
Islamophobia is not the only authority in such matters.
For a broad sampling over this conundrum of Moslems also
being Islamophobic, see the rhyme and survey entitled
- a thumbnail sketch of tolerance and inter-religious
[ 12 ] The notion of an
"Islamic caliphate" is a phrase of an adjective and a noun.
The adjective refers to Islam, no matter how various voices
try to explain away this 21st century phenomenon. The noun
refers to Islamic tradition as well, unlike such general
vocabulary as dictatorship, tyranny and other related nouns.
That an "ex-ISIS fighter" declares that "ISIS is not a
group, it's an ideology" is informative and instructional.
It highlights the problem for Europe in particular.
One reads: "...officials, including European and Iraqi
intelligence officials and a French lawmaker who follows the
jihadi networks, described camps in Syria, Iraq and possibly
the former Soviet bloc where attackers are trained to
target the West. Before being killed in a police raid,
the ringleader of the Nov. 13 Paris attacks claimed he had
entered Europe in a multinational group of 90 fighters, who
scattered 'more or less everywhere'." In "IS trains 400
fighters to attack Europe in wave of bloodshed," by Lori
Hinnant and Paisley Dodds, Associated Press, 23 March 2016.
As problematic as this is for entrenched political
leadership in Europe as in the US, the Paris attacks
followed by these attacks in Brussels and illuminated by
statements from what are being termed "radical Muslims" are
demonstration that an Islamic ideology is at its murderous
work. The adjective referring to Islam itself becomes
unavoidable, especially for those Muslims trying to distance
themselves from involvement in the attacks.
"ISIS is not a group, it’s an ideology," declares a
Muslim unequivocally. Among the world's many religious
cultures it is the one which is proving itself by many
"Islamic" words and deeds least able to
Thus the last stanza of this verse: addresses many nations,
political parties, governments and cultures: "Yes, hold the vigil also
/ Against grim terror at your
door. / You'll need more than a candle / To survive the well-fought war."
[ 13 ] The radical side of
Islam is beginning to spark real Islamic voices, such as
this "conservative" editor-in-chief of Breitbart London.
He notes and then challenges: " 'But come on,
Raheem, not all immigrants, or Muslims, are criminals, or
rapists…. you’re not!' Yeah – and look at me. Excoriated
daily by Islamists on Twitter. Why? Because I’ve integrated
and I love my country. Because I refuse to believe that an
Islamic caliphate is the best thing for Britain, or
anywhere, quite frankly. Where is my white (or brown)
knight? Where are the voices of the moderate Muslim world
For the Western political voices, this is a key question.
"Where are the voices of the moderate Muslim world defending
Re-reading footnote number 3 gives an indication for how
many Islamic voices are not of "the moderate Muslim world."
As long as the political schisms within the Western world
prefer to target and sometimes prosecute voices such as
Raheem Kassam's for whatever the silly term "hate speech"
means, there is no Western world nor Western values worth
As counterpoint to the Western voices which agonize over
"hate speech," one might point to Sure 9:33 which reads: "He
is the One who sent His messenger with the guidance and
the religion of truth, and will make it dominate all
religions, in spite of the idol worshipers."
The sentiment in the 9th chapter of the Quran is one of
domination over "all religions." Such domination is seen in
the earlier verse (9:29_ which reads: "You shall fight
back against those who do not believe in God, nor in the
Last Day, nor do they prohibit what God and His messenger
have prohibited, nor do they abide by the religion of truth
among those who received the scripture, until they pay the
due tax, willingly or unwillingly."
Thus unless Muslims like Kassam reject the literal words
noted here, the "religion of truth" must "fight back" and
make others "pay the due tax, willingly or unwillingly."
Such is submission, the antithesis of democratic freedom.
This chapter, last in chronological order, ends with:
"Whenever a sura was revealed, some of them would look at
each other as if to say: 'Does anyone see you?' Then they
left. Thus, God has diverted their hearts, for they are
people who do not comprehend."
The theology is then problematic, for either moderate
Muslims asking where are more moderate voices are not
representative of Islam and the radicals are, or the inverse
is correct. But Islam states in writing that for some "God
has diverted their hearts," and they "do not comprehend."
Thus is Islam is serious religious, military and political
trouble today, torn by schisms from within as well as
causing societal rupture with other civilizations/cultures
After all, in contradistinction to the theological blather
of Bush and Obama, a video from the Islamic State states:
" 'The crusaders aircrafts, including Belgium’s, continue to
bomb Muslims in Iraq and the Levant in the night and day,'
said the video. 'Every Muslim who is well aware of the
history of Islam, knows that the holy war against infidels
is an integral part of Islam, and those who read history
would know'." In "Islamic State video calls for jihad
after Brussels blasts," Reuters, 24 March 2016.
The question which lingers then is this. Which civilization
will survive the "holy war?" One seems most intent
on more than surviving, but conquering.
Such testimony is found surrounding the attack in Pakistan
in March 2016: "Pakistan’s Christian minority has
long been targeted by Muslim extremists. The government
seems powerless to stop the killings. A vicious Taliban
splinter group claimed responsibility for this attack. 'It’s
our message to the government that we will carry out such
attacks again until Sharia Islamic law is imposed in the
country,' a spokesman said." In "Islamic extremists
don’t just hate the West," by Margaret Wente, Globe and
Mail, 29 March 2016.
"...attacks again until Sharia Islamic law is imposed in the
country." As noted above from Muslim sources, Islam is
supposed to dominate over "all religions." Such is not
The religion of peace